Prepared for medical needs of tomorrow

Published: 6-May-2013

The medical device market continues to grow, boosting demand for sterilisation services. The introduction of technically enhanced instruments has increased the need for advanced sterilisers that are compatible with such devices, marking a shift away from steam sterilisers to technologies such as ethylene oxide, vaporised hydrogen peroxide, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, and ozone gas-based sterilisation

The medical device sector is growing at a healthy rate in some regions but high product failure rates, regulatory changes and a poor economic climate mean Europe is having to battle for a share of the action. Susan Birks reports.

The medical device sector is predicted to have some of the better growth rates among manufacturing industries, according to Clearwater Healthcare Team’s latest publication, Medical Equipment and Supplies Report 2013.1 Revenues for the US production market for medical equipment and supplies is estimated to be in excess of £66bn, and this is projected to grow at an annual growth rate of 4.1% to £81bn by 2017. With more than 16,400 businesses in the medical equipment manufacturing industry, the US has one of the largest markets; Canada meanwhile boasts 1,000 firms and generates $2.3bn in exports.

Europe’s largest medical device markets are Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain. According to the Outlook for Medical Device Markets in Western Europe,2 published by Espicom Business Intelligence, these medical device markets will be affected by the current eurozone crisis in the short term. In the three-month period between August and October 2012, medical device exports increased by only 0.6% in Germany and fell by 4.4% in the UK. However, beyond the current recession, the countries of western Europe are expected to return to growth with an average annual growth rate of 1.6% between 2014 and 2018.

The German medical device market is ranked the third largest in the world, behind the US and Japan. In 2012, it was estimated at US$23.3bn, equal to $285 per capita. The French market is the second largest in Europe, with consumption of medical equipment and supplies valued at $13.3bn in 2012, equal to $209 per capita. And the UK was valued at $8.9bn in 2012, equal to $142 per capita, and is projected to increase by a CAGR of 6.0% until 2017.

The European market sector faces some legislative changes too; in the wake of the PIP breast implant scandal, Europe has seen the revision of the EU Medical Devices Directives (MDD) to improve patient safety. In September 2012, the European Commission published what the new legislation on medical devices should look like and member states and the European Parliament are now negotiating and agreeing the final legislation.

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