The Impact of COVID-19: A Case Study from Endomag
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our way of life over the last few months. This month marked my 10th anniversary at Endomag and in my time as CEO I’ve seen the MedTech landscape change considerably. However, never has that change been felt so dramatically as during the rise of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which poses the biggest challenge to our industry in decades.
Fortunately, through multisector cooperation, the UK’s NHS has escaped being overwhelmed by the coronavirus outbreak. However, patients with other health needs – such as cancer care – continue to require essential treatment. At Endomag, we believe everyone deserves a better standard of cancer care, so over the past several months, we’ve been here to help and support surgeons in maintaining the highest standards, even amidst the backdrop of this unprecedented pandemic.
Some would say that chasing innovation has transfixed our MedTech sector on “the next new shiny product,” but the COVID-19 crisis has sharpened our focus. Previous priorities, like the promise of futuristic innovations or attendance at global trade congresses, have yielded to the importance of robust supply chains and essential devices and diagnostics. As leaders in the MedTech space, we have a duty to both our customers and our patients to provide for them at times of great need such as this.
This April, in conjunction with our distribution partner Sysmex UK, we launched a country-wide initiative to donate free vials of our cancer staging Magtrace® lymphatic tracer to support NHS hospitals. Through these donations, we believe we’ve ensured that surgeons can continue to carry out essential breast cancer staging procedures.
At a time when surgeries are being moved to coronavirus-free cancer hubs, which do not always have access to nuclear medicine, we’ve been able to support hospitals with a non-radioactive solution. We are proud to have pledged over £150,000 worth of free Magtrace® to the NHS - and to date, the response has been overwhelming, with over 20 hospitals taking us up on the offer.
However, we also understood the need for education in using our product, in some cases for the first time. So, in addition to these donations, we offered on-demand digital training, as well as dedicated personal support from our excellent team of product specialists.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the majority of Endomag employees are working at home for the foreseeable future. I’d like to thank all our employees for helping us to realise this NHS donation programme, as well as keeping morale high in what has been a difficult time for all. It’s been fantastic to see colleagues adapting so well to these unusual circumstances and continuing to collaborate so effectively.
I am also very grateful for the support of the ABHI throughout these times, as their regular communications and webinars provided necessary sector leadership. From the start of the crisis, the ABHI led an integrated response for our sector through its crisis-response plan. Initially, this helped to facilitate the provision of ventilators, diagnostics and PPE, but subsequently helped coordinate information on testing strategy and supporting the recovery of the NHS and our industry.
With the infection rates now decreasing across the UK, we are gradually seeing a return to normal life. As we start to leave aspects of the lockdown behind, we must recognise that the effects of COVID-19 on the MedTech industry will be felt for months – or even years – to come.
Indeed, businesses from all sectors will be defined by how they responded to the COVID-19 crisis now and far into the future. As we all return to some semblance of normality, I hope that we have shown the country that it has a medical device industry to be truly proud of.
Dr Eric Mayes, Chief Executive Officer, Endomag