It must be that time of year again: in the past ten days I have participated in four surveys and yesterday I received the results of a survey I had completed in late December. Given the reluctance of most people, the request to participate in such surveys is often accompanied with the promise of one’s name being entered into a random draw for a prize like an iPad Mini. Such an offer is hard to ignore!
Two of the surveys were conducted by telephone whilst two utilized the online service offered by SurveyMonkey. The first telephonic survey was run by Who Owns Whom, a business publisher that has tracked South African companies for over three decades and they were compiling a report on medical device manufacturers, focusing on the challenges such companies experience in accessing funding to develop new products. The other telephone interview was conducted by Managing Intellectual Property, a UK publisher that wanted feedback on patent attorney firms in South Africa.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) invited my participation “in an effort to build our offering and strengthen your experience.” When completing the form, I was reminded of the French expression, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose — the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sadly, the SABC is as biased in favour of the ruling ANC party in 2014 as it was when the apartheid government ruled in the 1980s. The other survey was conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry and this one had a lofty purpose: the development of a strategy and appropriate policy interventions to support the long term growth of the medical device manufacturing sector in South Africa. Let’s hope they succeed.
The 22-page survey report I received yesterday was entitled “Global Medical Device Industry Outlook for 2014” and was published by the Emergo Group. Nearly 75% of the 3900 respondents were optimistic about the prospects for 2014, while the biggest challenges facing CEOs included: the changing regulatory environment; credit and financing; new product development; pricing pressure; increased competition; and employee retention. Brazil, China, Japan and the USA were rated as the most difficult markets in which to register a medical device, while less than 20% of the companies were negatively impacted by the medical device excise tax promulgated in the USA last year.
While I didn’t win the iPad Mini, I did receive a useful report and that’s a plus.