UK dental companies ignore EU ‘at their peril’

A spokesman for a leading dental organisation has highlighted the dangers of UK companies failing to engage with the European Union.

Ed Attenborough, president of the British Dental Trade Association (BDTA), and MD of Attenborough Dental, a leading UK dental lab, suggests it would be a mistake for companies to assume that the influence of Europe on the dental trade was waning. 

In the area of regulation of medical devices alone, companies ignore the EU at their peril.

Mr Attenborough points out that members of the BDTA are often part of global organisations and are active in import and export.

They need to ensure they are engaged in supplying Europe’s 400,000 dentists and dental technicians but they are also highly vulnerable to European legislation in the UK market as well.

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

Mr Attenborough says: ‘It would be foolish to look at the current problems within the Eurozone and therefore discount the importance of the EU to the UK dental industry.

‘Europe represents a large and developing market that UK manufacturers need to ensure they are penetrating. Equally, however, Europe remains a major source of the legislation that will affect the dental industry going forward and we cannot allow this legislation to be formed without proper input of UK voices into the consultation.’

‘In particular we need to be involved in the current reform of the Medical Devices Directive. There is every sign that the legislation may be formed along the very stringent regulatory lines that presently apply to the Pharma industries. We should not fear regulation, but if we don’t get fully involved in the consultation process we can’t complain if we disagree with the regulatory approach that results.’

Mr Attenborough was speaking as the BDTA hosted the annual meeting for the Association of Dental Dealers in Europe, this year held in the UK at Windsor, 5 -7 May.

Mr Attenborough is clear that this engagement with European partners and competitors brings significant benefits for the UK industry.

He says: ‘This opportunity to see our industry through the eyes of continental European partners is very helpful and is why I am pleased to be taking the BTDA Annual Conference in June to Paris to allow a similar exchange of perspectives on our shared markets.

‘At the BDTA, we are working really hard to ensure that the UK perspectives are heard in Europe and the many European opportunities are seized by UK companies.’