Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/04/2014 -- Italy is the fourth largest economy in the EU-27, but it has underperformed in recent years, being the second weakest of the major EU-27 economies. Real growth is expected to contract in 2013; it contracted in 2012, stagnated in 2011 and 2010, and contracted in 2009 and 2008. Following the February 2013 parliamentary elections which resulted in a clear voter rejection of austerity, the coalition has pledged to do more to spur growth, implying an end to further fiscal consolidation. Although this will support short-term GDP growth, BMI believes that it also means the pace of structural reform implemented under former prime minister Mario Monti will slow dramatically, with negative implications for future growth and debt sustainability.
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The provision of healthcare, in common with other Western European countries, is advanced, with universal access. Being initially based on the UK's NHS-model, the Italian health service is also facing similar scenarios, most notably efforts to restrain rising costs. According to Assobiomedica, the government has implemented a number of laws in recent years that will affect public health expenditure, with a high incidence in public medical device expenditure. These include L228/2012 (2013 Stability Law), L135/2012, L94/2012 and L111/2011.
The Italian medical device market is the fourth largest in the EU-27. The market is expected to continue to exhibit sluggish growth in US dollar terms, with a 2013-2018 CAGR of 1.4%, which should see it grow from an estimated US$9.1bn in 2013 to US$9.7bn by 2018. This makes Italy one of the slowest growing markets in the world and reflects the ongoing debt crisis and the financial difficulties of the Italian health service.
Long payment delays have long been a feature of supplying to the public hospital market. According to Assobiomedica, the average payment time was 274 days in May 2013, which compared relatively well with 303 days in May 2012. Calabria recorded the longest average payment time with 926 days in May 2013, whilst Valle d'Aosta registered the shortest average payment time with 78 days.
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