Our focus this month on the European Union (EU) is that the summer time is often a great time to think about next year’s product launch plans.
Whether you are thinking about launching your product in Europe or expanding to the EU, it’s always an interesting market.
The beauty of the EU market concept is it’s simplicity – 28 countries (Brexit is a separate discussion) representing more than 500 million wealthy consumers (by average world standards) addressable with one CE mark. The complexity of the EU market is that it remains 28 countries with different cultures, multiple languages, varied histories, and a mix of economic disciplines.
When we hear clients speaking of preparing to launch their product in Europe, it begins a series of items that require consideration of location. Unless you’re a multi-national with established channel resources in 28 countries, it’s not likely for a successful launch across Europe without addressing the following for each country:
- Product name, slogan, company/product colors: Make sure it’s not offensive when translated
- Culture: How does it fit into each country’s culture
- Languages: While relatively easy for an American company to launch in the U.K., launching elsewhere could require translating every document, marketing material into multiple languages
- Product registration: Requirements vary in each country
- Reimbursement rate: Can vary from excellent reimbursement to no reimbursement, country by country
- Channel: Know the availability of quality distributors by country
- Market penetration: Understand each country’s clinical unmet need
- U.K.: No translation needed; there are ways to successfully launch a new product in the NHS
- Germany: Largest market; opportunities for special reimbursement for innovative products
- France: A core EU market
- Italy, Spain: While both of these countries has budget issues, payment issues can be handled with a qualified distributor
- Netherlands: Not a bad substitute for Italy and/or Spain; slightly smaller, however much more efficient; on pace to be the replacement country for the U.K. when it comes to healthcare in Europe
With all things relativelyequal from the above issues, consider these locations for U.S. companies heading to the EU:
There is a lot more to the EU launch story as these are only high-level topics for consideration before you begin your European footprint. Do your homework and we are confident you will have a successful launch.