Hi-tech medical firms 'can save 30,000 jobs'
Up to 30,000 highly paid jobs can be maintained if the Government supports innovation, according to the top medical technology supply companies in Ireland.
"Our medical technology and innovation is part of the solution to rising healthcare costs, not the cause. It can and will hasten economic renewal, productivity, growth and jobs" says Justin Carty, CEO of the IMSTA, the body representing medical technology companies in Ireland.
"By adopting a more entrepreneurial approach to the development and availability of medical technology, the Government will allow our industry to invest more in Ireland and create more opportunities in research, development and marketing," Mr Carty said.
He was speaking ahead of Wednesday's IMSTA showcase in the Alexander Hotel in Dublin. Mr Carty said that Ireland must work to create the right conditions for the growth of enterprise to the same degree of success as the support agencies achieve in attracting foreign investment into the country.
The medical technology industry employs 30,000 people, mostly in high-end jobs, and produces 10 per cent of total exports, valued at over €7bn annually. Pharmaceutical exports in 2009 were €44bn and device exports €7bn. The healthcare ICT sector is also growing as part of a wider ICT industry worth €20bn.
IMSTA member company, Hollister which began manufacturing in Ballina, Co Mayo, in 1976, employs 390 and contributes more than €24m annually to the economy. In addition to core manufacturing operations, there is also a distribution centre.
Mr Carty said that companies like Hollister must be embraced in Ireland's healthcare system and Ireland's reputation as a good place to do business must be maintained.
"The strategy of positioning Ireland as a competitive, innovation-driven location is vital. This, in effect, should impact on the potential to generate employment and investment in research and development," he said.
The IMSTA showcase will be opened by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen. More than 20 exhibitors will inform stakeholders of the key role the industry plays in Irish healthcare and the contribution its research and development plays in keeping Exchequer costs down.