(Yicai Global) Nov. 7 -- Edwards Lifesciences, an American maker of artificial heart valves, is optimistic about benefiting from China's medical reforms after seeing its recent product take the market by storm.
"We have been in China for 20 years, and we look forward to growing our presence in the market," George Ye, general manager of the California-headquartered company in China, said to Yicai Global during the China International Import Expo.
The firm is optimizing its approach as it transformed its sales model in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to a direct model from a distribution model and it may build an innovation hub in the region to bring its therapies to the mainland quicker.
It is the third time the firm participates in the annual trade expo in Shanghai. "It is a great platform for Edwards Lifesciences to showcase its business, technologies, and new products in China and also to the rest of the world,” Ye said.
One recent example comes to mind as since the debut of the Edwards Sapien 3 during the 2020 CIIE, the catheter-based artificial heart valve system has received a warm welcome. In more than 70 hospitals in 23 provinces and cities across China, numerous patients have received the medical device that can be installed without open-heart surgery. The related success rate is 98 percent. Since last year, Henan province's medical insurance covers the product and by now, the same is true for Shanghai, Yunnan, and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
"We see more coverage and acceptance of this therapy, which makes us feel good because it lowers the access barrier for patients, making it more affordable for everyone to undertake it, and it is life-saving for patients as well," Ye said.
China is one of its most important strategic markets for Edwards Lifesciences, the GM said. The world’s second-largest economy is also the second-largest medical device market with double-digit growth.
Edwards Lifesciences is keen to grow in China which has a large aging population, economic growth, and enlarging access to healthcare through reimbursement. The company is also seeking to enter smaller hospitals in second-tier and third-tier cities. It is important to continue to support the hospital infrastructure, and also provide more training for clinicians, including top talent and new surgeons, Ye said. Evidently, once a product is approved to enter the market, the firm continues to invest in its adoption by providing training to clinical specialists.
This is probably not the last CIIE where the firm will be seen. "We felt very positive about these developments and connections that we made as a result of participating in the CIIE during the last two years, and we continue to participate in the next expo with strong determination, delivering the best therapy for our Chinese patients," Ye concluded.
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi