Brussels, September 24, 2020 – Today, the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium (AmCham Belgium) is launching its Year of Healthcare, an initiative to showcase the importance of international healthcare companies in Belgium. Set to begin in April 2020 before being postponed, the Year of Healthcare, which will run until June 2021, underscores the firm belief held by AmCham Belgium and its members that now is the time to act and improve Belgium’s position as a global leader in the healthcare sector.
As the voice of international business, AmCham Belgium is launching its Year of Healthcare to stress how important international companies are for the Belgian healthcare ecosystem. The Year of Healthcare will begin with the launch of a new report on integrated care in a context characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Federal Government formation talks.
“Belgium’s healthcare ecosystem is one of the strongest in the world, but the COVID-19 crisis has clearly shown that we need to further reinforce it,” says Marcel Claes, Chief Executive of AmCham Belgium. Indeed, international companies operating in Belgium contribute daily to develop and market healthcare solutions which benefit Belgian patients while also exporting their products around the globe. Moreover, through partnerships with various stakeholders such as hospitals, research institutes and healthcare organizations, they make Belgium one of the most innovative countries in the world. “However, when the Belgian Parliament decides to put an extra tax on innovation, as we saw a few months ago, Belgium’s competitiveness and its capacity to innovate are put at risk,” explains Marcel Claes.
The Year of Healthcare will demonstrate the positive contributions of international healthcare companies, not only to the Belgian economy in terms of employment and investments, but also to patients, universities and other organizations they partner with. Today’s launch event will focus on integrated care, with the release of new policy recommendations in Moving towards Integrated Care in Belgium. Integrated care implies enhanced coordination between all stakeholders to truly make healthcare patient-centric, an urgent priority and more relevant than ever after the COVID-19 outbreak. AmCham Belgium’s eight actionable recommendations call on the authorities to install an overarching integrated care facilitator, embrace digital solutions, revise education curricula and scale up integrated care projects with additional funding. The project was developed thanks to feedback from patient organizations, sick funds, healthcare professionals and public health officials, which shows that there is a clear willingness to collaborate.
“All stakeholders pointed to the need for a clear long-term strategy and increased collaboration between all those involved in integrated care,” adds Olivia Natens, Country Director BeNeLux at Medtronic and Chair of AmCham Belgium’s Innovative Healthcare Committee. “We started with that project because it reflects the message we want to get across during our Year of Healthcare: to strengthen the Belgian healthcare ecosystem, innovation and collaboration between all stakeholders will be essential. Our members are there to help and share their expertise. We want to be part of the solution and work towards lifelong health for all while further improving Belgium’s international competitiveness in the healthcare sector. This should be a priority for the next Government as well.”
The Year of Healthcare is an initiative driven by AmCham Belgium’s Innovative Healthcare Committee, a cross-sectoral working group of 39 members including MedTech and pharmaceutical companies, consultancies, insurance and data companies, banks and law firms. “The strength of the group lies in its diverse background and expertise in healthcare. Despite their differences, our members all share the view that now is the time to act in order to improve the Belgian healthcare ecosystem. The next Federal Government will have to make important decisions to define future orientations related to public health. International companies in Belgium can help address some challenges thanks to their expertise, global network and know-how,” notes Marcel Claes.
About AmCham Belgium and the Innovative Healthcare Committee
The American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium (AmCham Belgium) is a dynamic non-profit organization dedicated to improving business and investment opportunities for the US-Belgian business community. Supported by around 450 member companies, AmCham Belgium plays a pivotal role in an evolving business environment by focusing on three key areas: advocacy, networking and knowledge-sharing. To learn more about AmCham Belgium, visit www.amcham.be.
The Innovative Healthcare Committee (IHC) is a unique cross-industry platform where proposals are nurtured contributing to a qualitative and sustainable healthcare ecosystem for patients. IHC members represent a variety of sectors, including pharmaceutical, MedTech or insurance companies, law firms, consultancies… The IHC aims to be a reliable policy partner to the Belgian Federal and Regional Governments and all stakeholders to ensure that new healthcare-related legislation and policies add value to, and benefit, the entire healthcare ecosystem. To learn more about the IHC, visit https://amcham.be/committees/innovative-healthcare-committee.