The UK medical device market is one of the biggest in the world, with growth relying predominantly on imports. But it is also a significant exporter of medical technologies. In the second of two articles looking at the domestic market, Medtech Business in association with Espicom takes a look at the UK medtech export market.
The UK is a significant global exporter of medical devices (including medical equipment and medical supplies) and remains among the world’s top 10. But the sector has faltered in recent years. Exports peaked in 2006 at US$7,238.5 million, but have fallen every year since then. In 2009, exports dropped to US$5,394.4 million – roughly the same level seen in 2005. The orthopaedic sector was hit especially hard in 2009. (For more details, see Figures 1–3.)
Medical consumables were the largest individual export area in 2009, valued at $1,140.0 million,* or 21.1% of total exports. This was a fall of 3.8% compared with 2008, with a 2005–09 Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of –1.8%.
Consumables are defined as wound care products (medical dressings, sutures, sterile, surgical and dental goods), syringes, needles and catheters. Within this category, catheters and cannulae amounted to $279.7 million, virtually unchanged from 2008, but significantly lower than the 2005 level of $410.6 million. Exports of medical dressings amounted to $503.7 million, a fall of 8.3% compared with 2008.
Diagnostic imaging is not historically one of the UK’s stronger sectors. In 2009, UK exports of diagnostic imaging apparatus amounted to $1,131.3 million – 21.0% of the country’s total export market. In recent years, the electrodiagnostic sector has been its biggest source of growth. The 2009 total showed a fall of 0.1% compared with 2008, with a CAGR for 2005–09 of 5.4%.
Electrodiagnostic imaging exports amounted to $575.1 million, a rise of 23.4% over 2008 due largely to a big rise in MRI exports. Radiation apparatus exports were far lower at $83.4 million, although this too represented a strong increase of 28.2% on 2008 figures. Exports of imaging parts and accessories fell sharply in 2009, by 21.4% to $472.9 million.
Exports of orthopaedic and prosthetic products saw a sharp fall in 2009. Exports totaled $1,231.5 million in 2008, but fell by 46.7% the following year to reach $656.2 million. Artificial joints fell by 67.1% to $71.5 million, while other orthopaedic/fracture appliances fell by 49.8% to $445.2 million.
As outlined in Medtech Business’s first UK market article (July 2011), imports in this sector also saw a sharp fall in 2009. Espicom suspects that much of the reduction is due to a change or relocation of multinational manufacturing and repackaging activities.
Exports of patient aids amounted to $1,054.5 million in 2009, a fall of 5.2% compared with 2008.
Portable aids fell by 8.0% to $762.1 million, while therapeutic appliances rose by 2.9% to $292.4 million.
Exports of dental products reached US$148.2 million in 2009 – 2.7% of the total. This is an increase of 4.1% over 2008; the total fell sharply in 2007, but has since recovered a little.
Dental cements amounted to US$70.2 million in 2009, a rise of 17.7% over 2008.
In 2009, the single leading destination for UK exports was the US, with $768.1 million (4.2%) of total exports. The largest shipments to the US were diagnostic imaging products, which amounted to $188.8 million, 16.7% of exports in this sector. This was followed by consumables, which amounted to $136.5 million, 12.0% of exports in this product area. The US also received 31.7% of dental product exports, valued at $47.0 million. (See Figures 4 and 5 for more details.)
More than half of UK exports went to the EU-27 countries. Shipments totaling $3,016.7 million (55.9% of total exports) left the UK for the EU-27. The principal recipient within the EU was Germany, accounting for 13.4% of exports, valued at $720.6 million. Almost a quarter (22.3%) of diagnostic imaging apparatus exports went to Germany. Belgium was the single biggest importer of UK consumables (18.6%) and UK orthopaedic and prosthetic products (17.2%) – in both cases outstripping the US. Other leading destinations within the EU were France, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Next month, Medtech Business will look at the medical technologies market in France.
This article is based on information from Medical Market Outlook reports published quarterly by Espicom Business Intelligence.
*All figures are in US $. For further details of the 63 markets covered, please visit www.espicom.com/outlookm1