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India, China, Brazil gain on medical tech race

Posted: 24 Jun 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:medical technology innovation  medical technology innovators  global medtech leaders  cost-effective healthcare solutions 

Medical innovation is moving from the U.S. to emerging nations like India, China and Brazil as they work to catch up in the medical technology race, specifically by taking over innovation resources and activity originally started in the U.S. and Europe, according to a report issued by Price Waterhouse Coopers.

The report claims that while the U.S. will continue to rule the field, the three emerging countries' catch-up efforts could eventually affect U.S. jobs, exports and access to medical technology .

China will reach near-parity in medical technology with European nations by 2020 based on a scorecard PwC analysts developed for the report. On a 1 to 9 scale, it gave the U.S. a current score of 7.1 as the global medtech leader, down from 7.4 in 2005.

Other developed countries such as France, Germany, Japan and the U.K. had scores of 4.8 to 5.4 with Israel ranked slightly lower. Several had slightly lower scores than their 2005 ranking.

Among developing countries China ranked highest at 3.4 due to its strong economic growth—up from 2.9 in 2005—while Brazil and India had scores 2.7 up from 2.3 in 2005.

The PwC scorecard uses a matrix of 86 different metrics tracked across ten dimensions. "We created the scorecard because we wanted to better understand how medical technology innovation is changing and which nations have the strongest capacity and capability for innovation," said Christopher Wasden, managing director of PwC and a co-author of the report, speaking in a press release.

"The balance of [social, technical, political and economic] forces is beginning to change, driven by global economic dynamics, governmental policies and the actions of individual companies and entrepreneurs," said Michael Swanick, who heads PwC's medical technology group. The shift "creates challenges for those countries and companies that have ridden this wave and offers opportunities to those who find themselves well-positioned to adapt to new modes of innovation," he said in a press release.

The report cited several factors driving medical innovation offshore of the U.S. They included more expensive, less-predictable FDA regulatory approvals, an increased focus on value and cost-effective solutions in healthcare, and increasingly international investments in R&D.

Medical technology innovators already are going first to market in Europe. By 2020, they likely will move into emerging countries before entering the U.S., the report said.

Other factors could dampen a shift to emerging countries such as China, the report said. They include a relative lack of intellectual property protection, difficulty of doing business in some emerging countries and weak local supply networks.

- Rick Merritt
  EE Times

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