BEIJING, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- At the exhibition hall for health services in Shougang Park, an exhibition area for the ongoing China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, a knee surgery robot from the Peking Union Medical College Hospital stood out as a star exhibit among visitors.
According to personnel with the hospital, this type of robot, for which China holds complete intellectual property rights, has assisted over 1,800 total knee replacement surgeries across China and proved to be effective.
The robot joins a number of other smart medical care products on display at the 7,700-square-meter hall that left visitors in awe of China's achievements in scientific and technological innovation, which is exactly the theme of the exhibition section.
"Innovation and development in health and medicine now enjoy broader prospects and space with a new round of sci-tech revolution well underway, a new generation of biotechnology getting more mature, the structure of the global medical industry profoundly changing, and people's consumption upgrading," said Wang Jiangping, vice minister of industry and information technology, at the Hygiene Health and Medical Industry Innovation Service Conference 2023 held Sunday as a sideline event of the CIFTIS.
At the conference, officials and practitioners discussed in depth the integration of health and industry and the innovation of industrial chains, in a bid to offer wisdom and advice for building China into a leading country in health.
Wang called for efforts to further industrialize products of health and medicine innovation, support enterprises in developing novel drugs, and promote the application of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data, and other technologies in the research and development (R&D) to meet the people's diversified demand in health.
His words were a follow-up to the country's latest actions to consolidate endeavors in the area, as two work plans on promoting high-quality development of the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries in the 2023-2025 period were adopted by the State Council in late August.
The adoption of the work plans marked a new phase the country's medical industry was going into, and the innovation level could be enhanced at a higher speed, according to practitioners.
"For an enterprise, innovation is the new engine and strong impetus behind its high-quality development," said Jiang Lingfeng, vice chairman of Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products Co., Ltd, at the conference.
For that purpose, also at the conference, a research and development index of China's medical enterprises was released as a reference for relevant enterprises and institutions in the field to improve their innovation capability.
According to statistics released at the conference, since the beginning of the 14th Five-Year-Plan period (2021-2025), the innovation capacity of China's medical industry has been continuously enhanced.
Over the years, the R&D expenditure of the industry has grown by an annual average of 23 percent, and 82 domestically-developed innovative drugs and 217 innovative medical equipment were approved for market launch.
However, innovation in the medical sector is currently hampered by uncertainties in financing and investment, said He Yaqiong, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Due to the changes in the capital market environment and policies related to the medical sector, the medical industry faces hardship in refinancing, which affects the enterprises' R&D expenditure, said He.
To address such problems, Wang noted that supportive measures should be put in place at every link of medical innovation. He also necessitated giving full play to the unique advantages of traditional Chinese medicine and called for greater support for higher education institutions and medical enterprises in jointly cultivating professionals. ■