Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/07/2014 -- The eight Latin American medical markets covered by Espicom Business Intelligence represent a market of 497 million people with a GDP of US$5.4 trillion in 2013. After a recent period of remarkable growth, economic growth in the region is expected to be steady in 2013, except in Venezuela, affected by a weakening local currency. The region is 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, Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina.
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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 Argentina, and there is some degree of regulatory harmonisation among them. Andean members such as Colombia and Peru are also modelling 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 more than doubled in the last eight years. The deficit in the balance of trade has increased in recent years, in spite of the weight of Mexico's exports.
Highlights from the Region
Diagnostic imaging takes the largest share of the Argentine medical market, followed by other medical devices and consumables, whilst the share for dental products is the smallest. Although GDP growth will be modest for the next five years, Espicom projects the medical device market will grow at a considerably fast 2012-17 CAGR. Prior to the economic crisis, Argentina had the highest medical expenditure per capita in Latin America, but in US dollars it now lags behind Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela. Imports account for around 89% of the market.
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