A truism exists that there are certain industries that are less sensitive to economic downturns and that the best example is medical technology or, more generally, healthcare. Patients cannot wait to be sick or traumatized at a more economically convenient time.
However, the scope and degree of the current recession (according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER, the U.S. entered a recession in December 2007) are such that virtually every industry is affected to some degree — if only in terms of the psychological wet blanket that such a downturn can cause, stifling optimism about returns on investment.
The truism of healthcare’s insulation from recession fades when considering aesthetic and other elective procedures and capital equipment expenditures. It is also increasingly true that patients are shouldering a greater share of healthcare costs through higher deductibles and other lowered coverage by employers.
I found the article in MX ("Developing Capabilities to Thrive in the Economic Downturn") by Pete Masloski of ZS Associates to be a lucid consideration of the issues that are confronting medical technology manufacturers facing the very real prospect of the economy pinching the medtech arena. Mr. Masloski proposes some specific actions for manufacturers to improve their prospects through sales and marketing activities. These include new product launch, sales force optimization, value-based strategies, pricing management, and sales performance management.
Another truism applies as well and that is that "adversity is opportunity." There appears to be plenty of "opportunity" as we approach year-end 2008.