In hospitals and doctors’ offices, drugs aren’t the only things responsible for helping patients heal and feel better. Medical devices are a huge category of medical care tools that often go unnoticed, but are crucial to modern day medicine.
Medical devices include wheelchairs, medical scissors, and even bandages. They can range from low-tech to high-tech devices and can even include pacemakers. Some of the technologies used to produce them include microelectronics, biotechnology, and even software. Unlike drugs, which dissolve and are absorbed by the body, medical devices are instruments, tools, and implants that can help with everything from diagnosing a patient to providing treatment, or even preventing a disease altogether.
With its own set of guidelines and regulations, the medical device industry is a fascinating field for regulatory affairs students. Read on to find out more about Canada’s thriving medical device industry, and why it might just be the career path for you.
Regulatory Affairs Students: The Medical Device Industry Is Booming
Students in regulatory affairs programs learn everything from how medical devices are classified, to the international and local regulations that govern them. As students may know, on a global scale, the medical device market is huge, with the world’s top 10 producers including the United States, Japan, Germany, and even Canada. There are 27,000 production firms worldwide that employ about one million professionals. Together, these professionals work on producing approximately 500,000 different kinds of medical devices.
Canada is a major contributor to this huge global market, coming in as the ninth biggest exporter with an estimated sales revenue of $6.8 billion USD (approximately $8.9 billion CAD). 80 per cent of Canada’s production companies are located in Ontario and Quebec, meaning that graduates in these areas are well poised to begin their careers as regulatory affairs associates, project coordinators, and more in this thriving sector.
Canada’s Top Medical Devices for Students in Regulatory Affairs Courses
Canada’s multibillion dollar medical device industry includes many medical device categories, such as patient aids, orthopaedics and prosthetics, and even dental products. The top two categories of devices produced in Canada make up 41 per cent of Canada’s medical device sales.
The first of these categories are diagnostic apparatuses, making up 25.8 per cent of Canada’s medical device market. These devices are quite common and include stethoscopes, thermometers, and otoscopes. The second biggest category of Canadian medical devices is consumables. Some students might think that these are products a patient eats, but that is not necessarily correct or all-encompassing. Consumables are defined as being non-pharmaceutical products that cannot be reused. For example, antibacterial wipes, nutritional drinks, and even drinking straws are counted in this category.
New Medical Device Research and Development in Canada
If you enroll in regulatory affairs courses you will soon learn all about the regulatory processes that govern medical device development. Every country, including Canada, has their own unique regulations regarding everything from clinical trials to how new devices are approved. In Canada, those regulations—as well as the regulatory affairs professionals who enforce them—are kept busy as the medical device industry is known for innovation.
As Health Canada notes, “Studies on the sector have found medical device companies, on average, spend 12% of their revenues on R&D each year in order to develop, design, and commercialize innovative medical devices.”
As regulatory affairs students may soon discover, the process of developing medical devices is quicker than it is for pharmaceuticals. Medical devices usually only take 24-48 months to reach the market. By comparison, it can take up to 12 years before new pharmaceutical products can start helping patients. For students looking to begin a career in an ever-changing and fascinating field, working in Canada’s medical device industry might just be their career calling.
Are you interested in learning more about medical devices in regulatory affairs training?
Contact AAPS today to speak with an advisor about how you can get started!