PARIS — Australia was the first international adventure for Applied Medical Resources (Rancho Santa Margarita, California). And having joined up with the down-under distributor, the company now has a platform to expand into other Asia-Pacific markets, according to CEO Said Hilal.

But rapid expansion into European markets is the company's priority, he told Medical Device Daily.

"You need to zoom back to a view that is less granular, and what you see is that European societies are committed to good healthcare," he said.

"People in the U.S. tend to shortchange this fundamental commitment, using buzzwords like socialized medicine, but over here what you see is a solid societal commitment to a safety net for citizens, and that includes good medical care," he said.

Germany, for example, delivers public and private care to its citizens at 10.6% of gross domestic product, compared to 15% to 17% of GDP in the U.S.

"The larger customer here, in our strategic view, is the society that is receptive to better healthcare," Hilal said.

Last year Hilal told MDD entering Europe felt like déjà vu all over again, as he faces the muscular and incumbent distribution and sales networks of Ethicon Endo-Surgery (Cincinnati) and Covidien (Mansfield, Massachusetts).

With solid sales growth and an experience expanding direct sales organizations into seven countries in the space of a year, Hilal was more comfortable than when he told MDD a year ago, "I am not at ease the EU is monitoring fully the activities of the big groups."

"Again, you need to zoom out to see the providers of healthcare are interested in doing the right thing as far as diligent oversight and enforcement," he said.

"These two actions are seen as part and parcel of providing good healthcare," Hilal said, explaining "Oversight and enforcement are not there to protect us but the consumer in a culture that does not trust monopolies."

"I believe they will do the right thing," in Europe, he said. "When things are fair and square, then may the best company win."

— John Brosky, European Editor

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