European dental industry faces new challenges

Despite the travails of the European social and economic model, it would be a mistake for dental companies to assume that the influence of Europe on the dental trade is waning, according to Ed Attenborough, president of the British Dental Trade Association (BDTA) and medical director of the dental laboratory Attenborough Dental.

In the area of regulation of medical devices alone, companies ignore the European Union at their peril, he said on May 5 during a speech at the Association of Dental Dealers in Europe (ADDE) annual meeting, hosted by the BDTA.

Engagement with European partners and competitors brings significant benefits for the U.K. industry, Attenborough emphasized.

Members of the BDTA are often part of global organizations and are active in import and export, he noted. As such, they need to ensure that they are engaged in supplying Europe's 400,000 dentists and dental technicians. However, they are also highly vulnerable to European legislation in the U.K. market.

"Dental companies need to remain fully aware of developments and, wherever possible, input into the consultative processes," Attenborough said.

Europe remains a major source of the legislation that will affect the dental industry going forward, and legislation should not be developed without proper input of U.K. voices, he added.

Attenborough pointed to current reforms to the Medical Devices Directive, saying that legislation may be formed along very stringent regulatory lines that presently apply to the pharmaceutical industries.

If companies don't get involved in the consultation process, then they shouldn't complain if they disagree with resulting regulations, he added.

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