Talking corona – and not the beer…

Departments - MedTech MindSet

Impacts of medtech decisions based on reality and fear.

Photo ©sewcream | ADOBE STOCK

By the time you read this article we’re hoping that the issue of the spread of the coronavirus is already a distant memory. Even if it’s not, we believe the topic of the coronavirus is pertinent because it’s clear that it has had an impact on the world economy – including the global medtech industry.

For those either doing business in China or manufacturing or sourcing in China (which is most of the medtech industry), it’s well known that the Chinese Lunar New Year mostly halts manufacturing in China for two weeks come late January and early February each year.

However, this year there was an extension of that suspension with medtech operations/sourcing in China, due to coronavirus. Some anecdotal stories we’ve already heard:

One B2B original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customer cancelled their order since it was manufactured in China as they had concerns about virus contamination on their plastic parts.

Authors’ comments: Wow! This medtech company needs to talk to its chief medical officer about the risks of actual spread through plastic parts shipped on a container for several weeks.

Another company cancelled business travel to all of Asia, including a critical strategic planning meeting in Korea, due to concerns about the liability for a company whose employees may or may not (most likely not) catch a virus while traveling.

Authors comments: Understandable, while it’s not any more likely that someone will contract the coronavirus than the flu (perhaps catching the flu is more likely), a company has to be concerned about potential legal liabilities in our litigious society.

Hospital distributor in Hong Kong: People are robbing each other for face masks since the supply is limited. Apparently, in February 2020, face masks are more valuable than gold due to the fear.

Authors’ comments: It’s amazing what fear can do as medical evidence actually suggests that while face masks are beneficial for helping those who are sick from spreading their germs, face masks actually don’t do much to prevent someone from receiving a virus. The best method for prevention continues to be hand washing. (Side note: In the funny – not funny category, we were also informed if you want to get a seat on the subway or bus, just fake a cough.)

From our personal perspective, we are heading to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and maybe Hong Kong in February. Our only hesitation on Hong Kong is the possibility of receiving a friendly “U.S. customs quarantine” upon our return. We’ll let you know how that goes.

From a business perspective, we welcome your comments relative to how the coronavirus impacted (or is impacting) you. We sincerely wish all global medtech citizens the best and hope this is simply a brief blip in time and just an interesting historical footnote.

As always, wishing you the best of outcomes in all you do anywhere in the world!

MedWorld Advisors

About the authors: CEO Florence Joffroy-Black is a long-time medtech M&A and marketing expert. She can be reached at Managing Director Dave Sheppard is a former medical OEM Fortune 500 executive. He can be reached at