There have been concerns raised about the rapid advancement of medical technology in recent years.
This leap has contributed to people living longer, healthier lives, however consumer and campaign groups are calling for proper scrutinisation before they are put to use on patients.
Everybody agrees that the advancement of medical technology is a welcome one, however there is debate on the best way to manage it.
Speaking to EU Observer, CEO of MedTech Europe Serge Bernasconi stated: “Medical technology has helped create our own problem because we’re living longer.”
Society is now trying to cope with an ageing population, an ever-increasing disease burden and underfunded healthcare structures ill-equipped to deal with such a rapid change, and so naturally hope medical technology can provide solutions.
Billions of people go through every day without realising their reliance on medical technology, such as spectacles or hearing aids. Others dependence on them is a matter of life or death, such as receiving organ transplants or diabetes sensors that track glucose levels and deliver insulin.
Now scientists are looking to develop such things as ‘nanorobots’ that can travel around the bloodstream repairing cells and delivering drugs to exactly the right places.
In another format, mobile health apps are also exploding onto the scene, but remain largely unregulated, as does ‘smart clothing’ that comes with weaved in sensors that monitor vital signs.
According to Deloitte, by 2018, an estimated 50% of 3.4 billion mobile device users will have downloaded health apps.
As all these waves of new medical technologies come, so to do fresh concerns. Consumer and campaign groups argue that regulation on medical technologies and products is weak, leaving patients exposed to faults that could have serious consequences.
The campaigning group Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) specialises in chemicals contained in medical devices, such as intravenous tubes which can leak hazardous materials inside the body.
They say: “We can do a lot by having higher transparency and responsibility. Companies should be forced to give information, and prove why they are not using alternatives.”
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