The Medical Device markets in Latin America are worth US$10.5 billion and are still growing.
The eight Latin American medical markets covered by Espicom Business Intelligence represent a market of 485 million people with a GDP of US$5.2 trillion in 2011. The region is better prepared to face global instability than in the past, economic growth is expected to be steady in 2011, after a recent period of remarkable growth. The region is now seeing all markets re-evaluate their health provision. Levels of service in the buoyant private health sector are among the best to be found, but the challenge is to provide better levels of basic healthcare to the mass of the population. Opportunities for manufacturers of medical equipment and supplies do exist, but it is knowing where and how to develop them. Brazil is the largest medical market, followed by Mexico, Columbia and Venezuela. Peru is the latest Latin American country to sign an FTA with the USA. Venezuela has tried to align neighbors into a separate bloc but these countries are reliant on US imports.
With the exception of Brazil and Mexico, the medical regulatory environment in the region is less stable than in developed markets. These young markets have not matured yet, therefore their regulatory systems are being consolidated. Brazil and Mexico, however, have more complex and mature regulatory systems. MERCOSUR members tend to follow the medical regulation established by Brazil, and there is some degree of regulatory harmonization among them. Andean members such as Colombia are also modeling Brazil's medical regulation. Mexico operates closer to its North American allies, and follows the US' FDA regulation.
Trade in medical devices and equipment is key to the region's development with all markets dependent on imports, with the exception of Brazil, which has a strong local domestic industry. Brazil, Argentina and Chile import more high specification medical technology products, whilst Peru, Mexico and Venezuela import more consumables. Regional medical exports are low, with the exception of Mexico, which represents nearly 90% of the region's export capabilities. Continuing strong export growth in the country is almost entirely due to US manufacturers' 'maquiladora' activities. Brazil's exports are low compared to the size of its medical market, even though exports have almost doubled in the last five years. The deficit in the balance of trade is negligible for the region, due to the weight of Mexico's exports.
Highlights from the Region
Argentina is the fourth largest country in Latin America, with a large elderly population as potential healthcare consumers. The country has recovered since its 2002 economic crisis, with imports performing well in the last few years. Argentina has a medium-tech manufacturing sector able to supply many domestic healthcare needs. The Argentine peso, valued at 4.1 in 2011, has fallen against the US$, affecting the market in US$ terms.
In 2011, the Brazilian medical market is valued at US$4,034 million, the largest market in Latin America. Healthcare expenditure is highest in urban areas. Brazil has a well-established medical industry, comprising local and multinational companies. Since 2003, imports have grown well, increasing at a CAGR of 21% between 2005 and 2009. The private healthcare industry has seen rapid growth.
Chile is one of the region's better economic performers, with the highest GDP per capita in Latin America. Chile has an FTA with the USA which is its dominant supplier for medical devices. It produces very little medical equipment, so is largely supplied by imports. The Chilean market for medical equipment and supplies is valued at US$495.4 million in 2011.
Colombia is the third largest country in Latin America. The country's healthcare structure is adequate in the larger urban areas, but in need of modernisation and the healthcare system is complex. Colombia's GDP growth was less than 1% in 2009, because of local budget tightening and inflation, but was expected to have recovered to grow 4.5% in 2011. Espicom estimates the size of the Colombian market for medical equipment and supplies to US$863.9 million in 2011. Per capita spending on medical devices is average for the region.
The Mexican market for medical devices is estimated at US$3.5 billion in 2011. This is the second largest in Latin America, behind Brazil. Per capita expenditure is the highest in the area. Per capita expenditure is relatively low, however. The market is dominated by imported products, principally from the USA. US manufacturers benefit from proximity and preferential terms under NAFTA. Medical exports are very high with the majority being shipped to the USA, under "maquiladora" activity.
The Peruvian market for medical equipment and supplies is estimated at US$317.9 million in 2011. Per capita expenditure is the lowest of the featured markets. However, Peru has a projected market CAGR of 12% between 2011 and 2016. Health services are mostly provided in the public sector, although facilities are severely under-funded. Around 8.1 million people were insured by the main public insurer ESSALUD by 2009. The private sector, based in Lima, is advanced but small. Peru has very little domestic manufacturing.
The Venezuelan market for medical equipment & supplies was estimated at US$595.3 million in 2011. Venezuela has the second highest medical market per capita expenditure in Latin America. The country is economically under-developed although rich in natural resources. The market is volatile and the economy is heavily dependent on oil and imported products. Many health facilities rely on outdated equipment and infrastructure and are under-funded. There is little domestic production and none at all of high-end apparatus.