France ranks among the top five largest medical device markets in the world. Consumption of medical equipment and supplies is valued at US$14.9bn in 2013, equal to US$233 per capita. New measures have recently been taken to control spending on medical devices, similar to those already in force for pharmaceuticals. For this reason, the medical market is only likely to see moderate growth over the next five years.
Despite several high profile investment programmes, France continues to lag behind its European neighbours in some high technology fields, most notably imaging and radiotherapy equipment. A second five-year cancer plan has now been launched which includes plans to further boost the number of MRI scanners used to diagnostic various forms of cancer and to increase the number of cancer specialists including radiotherapy technicians.
France has a well established medical device manufacturing industry with production concentrated on medical imaging, consumables and orthopaedic & prosthetic equipment. The medical manufacturing industry has seen an influx of foreign companies; most of the larger manufacturers are now subsidiaries of multinational groups. The latest production figures indicate that output of medical devices is stagnating. In recent years, several major multinationals, including Covidien, Johnson & Johnson and Stryker, have sold off or closed manufacturing operations, as companies seek to rationalise their production activities. The acquisitions process has opened up new distribution channels for foreign manufactured equipment, increasing the market share of imported products.
The US dollar value of medical device imports fell below US$11.0bn in 2012, but continued to grow in euro terms reaching EUR8.6bn. Not all imported products are destined for the domestic market. In recent years, there has been a marked rise in re-exports in certain sectors, most notably pacemakers.
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