India, China Offer Big Opportunity for Surgical Device Industry

Source: Economic Times

India and China present the largest emerging market growth opportunity for the medical device industry, according to a report.

Both the countries are shifting towards enabling quality surgical care at an affordable cost, at a pace faster than many western healthcare systems, it said.

The Indian surgical device market is valued at $ 2.75 billion, while China’s market is significantly larger at $ 8 billion – and both are growing at 15 per cent a year, with more than three-quarters of high-value surgical devices imported, according to the report from product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants.

But surgery in emerging markets will not share the same future as surgery in developed markets. Different commercial, clinical, user and technical challenges will drive ‘need-based’ innovation – resulting in new products and solutions that are tailored for emerging markets, it said.

To better understand the challenges and opportunities for surgical innovation, Cambridge Consultants team of product development and human factors engineers visited Indian hospitals, interviewed surgeons, nurses and hospital executives, and observed a variety of surgical procedures.

The hospitals ranged from top-tier multi-speciality centres to small, fast-growing village hospitals.

Only 25 per cent of India’s population has health insurance, so most Indian patients pay for their healthcare, including surgery, out of their own pockets – emphasising the importance of surgical device value when developing new products for emerging markets, the report said.

Surgeons in India are rarely employed by a single hospital – they are consultants at multiple hospitals, bringing in their own patients while hospitals provide the infrastructure and patient services. They usually rely on the surgical equipment available at the various hospitals – and may need to switch between multiple types of equipment on a day-to-day basis, it said.

Laparoscopic surgery, for example, often requires frequent tool changes in a confined space, and proper execution of these changes can be difficult even with a surgical team that has worked together for years, the report added.

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