Changing global health needs linked to progress in medicine is a trend that has been brought into stark relief by the COVID-19 crisis. This situation brings unprecedented challenges and opportunities for French companies, which have globally renowned expertise. They need to draw up new strategies to better capitalize on that expertise in an increasingly competitive environment.
Given these challenges, France launched French Healthcare in 2017, a government initiative to support health sector exports. It aims to structure, support and promote French solutions internationally.
Health needs are growing everywhere and the medical world is changing. Life expectancy is increasing and chronic, emerging and infectious diseases are developing, as shown dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this context, new industrial and service sectors are emerging, linked to the progress of medicine, and health systems are in greater demand than ever before.
Producers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, the testing industry and e-health are the key drivers of the health sector. In all these fields, French companies face shared challenges, including acute international competition, the importance of innovation, and the regulatory burden. And exports are key to the growth of these companies.
- 100,000 jobs across 271 production sites in France.
- €56 billion turnover in 2018, 49% of which from exports.
- France’s third-largest exporting sector, behind the aerospace and automobile industries.
Alongside products, health services play a key role. France exports globally renowned healthcare expertise, illustrated in the hospital sector (hospital engineering, construction and management, treatment of foreign patients in France, training of foreign practitioners) and in the grey economy which is now an increasingly pressing issue, given the aging global population (there will be an estimated 300 million seniors in China in 2025, and 487 million in 2055).
The deployment of French businesses in foreign markets benefits from by the international reputation of the French medical sector, which is a genuine asset for our economic and health diplomacy, particularly when it comes to research and innovation. Of the world’s 25 most innovative public research institutions, four are French: the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and the Pasteur Institute.
Lastly, France’s national strategy to foster global development in the health sector aims to contribute, through both bilateral assistance (AFD and Expertise France, for example) and multilateral assistance (WHO, vertical funds, World Bank, EU), to building the capacities and resilience of health systems in fragile countries.
Jean-Patrick Lajonchère’s term as export unifier for health was renewed in February 2018. After working for 15 years in construction and biomedical engineering within several public hospitals, and 13 years within the Paris hospitals (AP-HP) and at the French Ministry of Health, he was appointed Director-General of the Paris Saint-Joseph Hospital in 2009. This wealth of experience means he has in-depth knowledge of the hospital, private sector and ministerial spheres.
The unifier’s role is to promote and structure France’s healthcare offering internationally. As such, his role involves rallying all stakeholders, including through the French Healthcare brand. This work has three main thrusts:
- Helping structure France’s healthcare offering (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, e-health, hospital engineering, construction and management, healthcare consulting, healthcare provision, insurance, etc.
- Contributing to promoting France’s exports abroad.
- Supporting the deployment of France’s exports abroad.
The French Healthcare brand was launched in 2017 as a public-private initiative to support healthcare exports. It is guided by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in liaison with the sector’s export unifier and healthcare stakeholders.
French Healthcare aims to promote French expertise and innovation in the healthcare industry by:
- Uniting healthcare stakeholders through the French Healthcare federation.
- Using its brand to promote France’s competitive advantages:
o A global benchmark;
o Cutting-edge research and robust pharmaceutical industry;
o High-quality training;
o A force of innovation thanks to the dynamic network of start-ups and SMEs.
The architecture of French Healthcare was overhauled in June 2020. It is managed by the French Healthcare federation and its members, alongside the government agency Business France which is responsible for supporting companies in foreign markets. Other healthcare stakeholders, like competitiveness clusters and chambers of commerce and industry, can also request French Healthcare endorsement of collective events to promote the sector abroad. Lastly, a “Club French Healthcare” logo is now available for initiatives abroad.
Website: www.frenchhealthcare.fr, “Our Publications” section
Twitter: French Healthcare
Linkedin: French Healthcare
Updated: July 2020