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The Outlook for Medical Devices in North East Asia
Date:12/1/2011

ices such as outpatient consultations and drug prescriptions. The government is looking at reducing this, in a further attempt to control health insurance bills.

* Imports supply around 75% of the medical equipment market. There is a growing domestic industry, which is becoming more sophisticated. However, local production remains fragmented and largely geared to supplying export markets.

* Taiwan's medical device regulation is bureaucratic and opaque. Regulations are broadly based on a US/Japanese risk-based approach, but the process can be unpredictable.

South Korea

* Espicom estimates the South Korean medical market to achieve an annual growth of 7%. Based on this rate, the market will be worth US$4 billion by 2013. This makes it one of the world's top 15 markets.

* South Korea has the highest healthcare expenditure of all the 'Asian Tigers', with an estimated 55% funded by the public sector.

* The government has been forced to implement cost-cutting measures in recent years, owing to a large deficit faced by the healthcare system. This problem is exacerbated by a rapidly ageing population.

* From a regulatory and legal point of view, the market is generally regarded as 'difficult'. It remains to be seen, but the situation should improve since the FTA was signed with the USA in 2007, which calls for more transparency especially in the pricing & reimbursement.

* South Korea is predominantly supplied by imports, largely from the USA, Germany and Japan. Imports of medical devices have grown strongly in recent years, growing by 94% over five years to reach US$2.4 billion in 2007.

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