Mergers and Acquisitions in the Medical Device arena……a good or bad thing?

by Chris Lewis

2017 already seems to be a year of change. Since the turn of the year, there are stories of acquisitions and mergers in all areas of the healthcare market. To mention a few…

• Johnson and Johnson – moving into the Ophthalmic market with the purchase of Abbotts Medical Optics business (AMO)
• Pentax – have acquired C2 Therapeutics – a growing business with exciting ablation technology
• Terumo – Terumo are very lively with the announcement of the purchase of Bolton Medical to increase their Vascular market presence, as well as St Jude’s ‘Angioseal’ business  
• Abbott have completed the acquisition of St Jude – one of the biggest acquisitions in recent times 

So with so much movement happening in the device market, the question to ask is - are mergers a good thing that lead to more advanced technologies getting to market quicker? Or a sign that one day, a handful of large blue chip businesses will hold the monopoly of this market?

If you are employed by a business that is making significant acquisitions at the moment, or being acquired, how do you see the near future? On the one hand you are becoming a bigger business with more market share and presence and surely a bigger opportunity to grow your career with the endless opportunities that arise. On the other hand the team are consolidating and your position is under threat.

There are a lot of discussions around the commoditisation of sales into the NHS, and a rat race by the bigger businesses to tie trusts into contracts, blocking out the threat of competitors. With the top device businesses buying the new technologies in the market, will these products be entering a similar rat race or is it merely a point of diversifying the portfolio?

I’d be keen to know if you’ve recently experienced a similar merger or acquisition? What impact did this have?

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