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Medtronic grows global reach

By: Angie DeRosa

December 10, 2012

Medical-device maker Medtronic Inc. is transforming itself for growth in the global health-care environment, with a strategy that includes penetrating emerging markets.

That was the message of CEO Omar Ishrak, who addressed the Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Innovation Summit, held in Cleveland.

“The underlying need for health care is something that will never go away,” Ishrak said Oct. 30. To be successful in today’s environment, relationships have to be fostered with a broad set of stakeholders, including physicians, he said.

Some 45 percent of Medtronic’s business is outside the U.S. It will continue its penetration into global markets via acquisition. On Nov. 1, the firm announced it had acquired China KangHui Holdings, a maker of orthopedic devices based in Changzhou. The company complements Medtronic’s positions in spine, neuromodulation, neurosurgery, advanced energy and surgical navigation.

But, Ishrak said, Medtronic is also growing organically. Its “Healthy Heart for All” campaign is an innovative approach to market. The program is focused on India, where heart disease is a growing issue and health insurance is not common, so most people can’t afford cardiac care.

Innovation had to come via market reach, not new technology or products. Medtronic’s system to get India’s population treated included direct-to-patient advertising for free diagnostic events and involving industry stakeholders. Medtronic also had to manage the pipeline and ensure affordability.

“We know how to create economic value,” he said. “Where cost is incurred is not the same place where benefit is realized.”

He also called for transparency in data. For its part, Medtronic has experienced the impact of product defects and recalls.

“No one wants to do something that is not safe, no one,” he said. “Transparency in data is critical in the future.”