MEDICA19 Great Britain sign
MEDICA19 photo: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) confirms it is withdrawing the UK Pavilion from this year’s MEDICA amid concerns over the impact that coronavirus may have on the show in November.

According to an email sent out by Paul Benton, Managing Director, International of ABHI, the organisers of the German trade show are advising that the event will still take place in Düsseldorf on the 16th and 19th November.

With more than 120,000 visitors descending on the annual trade fair, the exhibition welcomes businesses interested in the latest healthcare and medical innovations from across the globe and is often a key date in the calendar for UK exporters and importers.

It comes as multiple shows in the UK over the spring and summer have either been cancelled or postponed as event organisers and businesses attempt to navigate the uncertainty posed by the pandemic.

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In the email, Benton states that the Association is “concerned that there is a high likelihood the show will not take place”, particularly highlighting that elsewhere restrictions to mass gatherings have been extended deep into autumn.

“Should MEDICA still go ahead this year we are worried about the impact of social distancing measures, travel restrictions and visitor numbers on the value and quality of the show,” the communication adds.

“Despite our concerns, the organisers are insisting on financial commitments by 15 May. Therefore, we have taken the decision to withdraw the UK Pavilion at the show this year, releasing our exhibitors from their contractual commitments and refunding them in full.”

Benton writes that the ABHI remains committed to hosting the pavilion at future MEDICA events but says it is aware of the challenges currently facing SMEs and the effect such a significant financial commitment can have on exhibitors.

“In supporting our healthcare professionals to limit the spread of the virus, we are also mindful of the reputational impact of attending a mass gathering,” continues the communication.

The ABHI highlights that it is investigating other options for companies to showcase their offerings via hosting a potential ‘virtual ABHI UK Pavilion’ and working with the Department for International Trade to develop a targeted programme of export support for British companies.

“This is a big decision, not taken lightly, but we believe it is the right one,” asserts the email.

“The continued safety of exhibitors and your staff, and respite for SMEs, are paramount.”

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