Medtech Opportunities and Challenges in Emerging Markets Outlined in Swiss Report

June 27, 2013 – 2:12 pm

The pace of change in the healthcare business landscape continues to accelerate. While some traditional markets are stagnant, emerging markets have become the new Promised Land for the medical device industry. By 2016, for instance, Brazil, Russia, India and China, the so-called BRICs, will be among the top 10 life science markets in the world. A report published this week by export body Medtech Switzerland addresses the challenges faced by medical device manufacturers in this new medtech world order.

Produced in collaboration with the ims consulting group, The Global Medtech Industry: Visions in Times of Change advises medtech OEMs on how to reshape business strategies in light of new developments. “Today’s environment is more challenging than ever for most medtech companies,” says Patrick Dümmler, Managing Director, Medtech Switzerland. He cites lower reimbursement rates, increased demand for data about product effectiveness and efficiency, and a rising regulatory burden among industry’s travails. “But there are also growing opportunities, especially in emerging economies where more people now have access to healthcare services and products. However, to be successful, many companies will need to adapt their business models,” Dümmler tells medtechinsider.

Three core principles of the study can be summarised, as follows:

  • Companies must adapt to different competitive and economic environments if they want to thrive in a world where countries such as China and Brazil represent greater business opportunities than traditional markets. While customer demand in the high-income brackets are comparable to Western markets, medtech companies targeting the indigenous middle class or low income segment of the market must build up local R&D, manufacturing and distribution capabilities. That ensures not only that the price of products are consistent with the spending capacity of the local population, it also brings down shipping costs. Indigenous design keeps the products aligned with the cultural and legal norms of the market.
  • While the medtech formula for success used to be purely about the delivery of high-quality products, companies today should factor integrated healthcare delivery into their business strategy and focus on overall treatment solutions. Think Fresenius.
  • Medtech companies should consider forward integration into a market only if the following criteria are met:
    • No breakthrough innovations are anticipated in the targeted product category.
    • The company can claim credibility and, indeed, a leadership position within the treatment area.
    • Fixed reimbursement fees for treatment are in place, ideally for the overall treatment or for specific parts.

The complimentary study can be downloaded at

— Thomas Klein


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