MARKET SURVEY: THE MEDICAL DEVICES
AND DISPOSABLES MARKET IN THE EU
This CBI market survey 'The medical devices and disposables
market in the EU' gives an overview of the opportunities and threats that
potential exporters from developing countries (DC) should analyse before making
a decision to export to the EU. It reviews the following aspects:
The European Union (EU) is the 2nd largest markets for
medical devices and disposables worldwide. In 2006, the EU consumed 15.6 million
tonnes of medical devices and disposables, or more than - 29 billion. EU
consumption has increased steadily over the years. Between the years 2002-2006
medical devices showed an average growth of 3% per year. Over the same period
medical disposables grew by 4% per year. Growth was especially pronounced in the
new EU Member States due to the increase in public and private health care
expenditure. Most of the more established markets grew slow yet stable.
Market trends indicate that the population of the EU is
slowly ageing. However, its population also has a more active lifestyle. Both
developments will add to the growth of the market. On the other hand, cutbacks
in expenditure might call for re-adjusting resource allocation. Hospitals are
already trying to reduce the length of hospital stays and promote homecare
treatment. Due to changes in reimbursement policies throughout the EU, suppliers
will have to show hard evidence of their product's added value or will not be
reimbursed. This has also lead to treatments becoming more complex, as new
technological developments are incorporated into products. DC exporters that
offer products that are cost-saving without compromising on quality will be able
to find market openings easier.
Following current consumption trends, socio-cultural
developments, economic outlooks and the recent expansion of the EU, it is
expected that EU consumption of medical devices and disposables will continue to
grow at a similar rate as in the past. The demand for products that fit into a
prevention-orientated, consumer-driven healthcare model is expected to show the
most growth in coming years. However, due to rising costs EU governments are
reforming their healthcare systems and implementing restrictive measures that
affect reimbursement policies.
Despite the steady increase in consumption, production
between the years 2002-2006 increased only slightly at a rate of 3% per year and
totalled - 25.7 billion in 2006. Production of medical devices increased by 4%
per year while that of disposables dropped by 3%. One of the reasons for the
poor performance is that some EU Member States that are significant producers of
medical devices and disposables are shifting production to other locations,
mainly to Africa and Asia. Medical outsourcing to Latin American countries is
more common for U.S. medical device manufacturers.
The outlook for the medical production companies in the EU
looks moderately positive. The increased international pressure from low-wage
countries and strong global players might result in a decrease of production in
most EU countries. Furthermore, most of the large markets (Germany, UK and
France) in the EU will grow however only slowly. The highest growth rates in
coming years are expected in the new Member States.
Medical device and disposable manufacturers in the EU are
increasingly working together in order to reduce costs and fend off competition.
EU manufacturers are also relocating and outsourcing production to countries
where the wages are lower and/or the production legislation is less strict.