The Medical Technology Blog

Brazil has the largest economy and medical device market in Latin America, despite having a low per capita medical expenditure. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and largest in Latin America, covering an area of 8.5 million km2, the capital is Brasília. Brazil is a member of MERCOSUR. Dilma Roussef won Brazil’s latest elections in November 2010.

The country has a well-established medical industry, comprising local and multinational companies. Domestic production is geared towards the local market, with exports comparatively low. Expansion of private health insurance has resulted in demand for better medical care. The public sector continues to be modernised, therefore there are sizeable market opportunities if prices are competitive.

Since 1988, Brazil has been building a Unified Health System (SUS – Sistema Único de Saúde). providing universal healthcare to about 150 million people. The Ministry of Health ran the 2008-2011 Healthcare Growth Acceleration Programme (PAC da Saúde), “Mais Saúde”, to strengthen the SUS.

Brazil emerged quicker from the global economic crisis than other developed nations. A potential black spot will be if the economy grows too quickly. Rising inflation due to the inability to meet rising domestic demand would mean rising prices. If inflation is kept in check, there will be more money available for healthcare, though the public sector perennially looks to save money.

Highest expenditure is in large cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but producers are moving into regional markets. The diagnostic imaging sector is fairly mature but there is demand for more advanced equipment. Imports concentrate on high-tech medical equipment which can’t be produced locally. Imports have been fuelled by the appreciation of local currency and increasing consumer demand for the latest technology.

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