The Outlook for Medical Devices in Central & Eastern Europe

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The countries of Central and Eastern Europe represented a total market of 303 million people and a combined GDP of US$3.3 trillion in 2013.

Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) is composed of a diverse range of markets, all at different stages of development. All have healthcare systems in need of renovation; hospitals in the former Soviet countries in particular contain equipment that is obsolete and in need of replacement. Most new equipment is imported, as many companies within the region are unable to fulfil the demand for more sophisticated equipment. Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Hungary represent the five largest medical markets in the region. Slovenia is a small market, but has the highest per capita expenditure, on a par with much of Western Europe.

Medical Market Growth, Affected by the Economy

Markets throughout the region grew very rapidly until 2008, as many countries joined the EU between 2004 and 2007. Growth rates have fluctuated since 2009 either as a result of the global economic downturn or the eurozone crisis. The regional economy is expected to grow by an annual average of 3.1% between 2014 and 2018, with most countries showing some growth in 2013, but the CEE region contains export-dependent countries such as the Czech Republic and Hungary, which will be vulnerable to any depressed demand in the eurozone. Financial assistance provided by the IMF has helped countries such as Romania to strengthen their economies and limit the effects of the recession on the health sector; overall demand for medical devices has therefore remained relatively strong, particularly in the consumables field.

Regional Health Expenditure

Total health expenditure for the CEE region stood at an estimated US$196.6 billion in 2012, equal to 7.3% of GDP. Only 30% of spending in the region is private, but 86% of this is composed of out-of-pocket payments. The area of private healthcare plans remains largely undeveloped within most markets. Slovenia, the wealthiest country per capita in the region, is the only country in which private plans have become a strong feature, representing almost half of total private spending.

Highlights from the Region

The Czech Republic was one of the larger and richer former Soviet countries to join the EU in May 2004. It is well-located in Central Europe and has an estimated population of 10.6 million in 2013. Healthcare funding is largely public, and mainly through health insurance. Private spending only accounted for an estimated 16.9% of total health expenditure in 2012. Provision of care is also largely public; the Czech Republic has yet to develop a substantial private sector. Around 80% of the Czech Republic medical device market is supplied by imports, which rose rapidly until 2009, when growth became more subdued. In 2011, 35.7% were sourced from Germany. Other major suppliers were the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and France. In 2011, imports rose by 6.6% over 2010 and by a 2007-11 CAGR of 8.2%.

In 2012, the Hungarian market for medical equipment and supplies was estimated at US$639 million, or US$64 per capita. The market value has stalled since 2008, but it is expected to bounce back by a CAGR of 7.0% in the 2012-17 period, reaching US$895 million, equal to US$90 per capita. Around 84% of the medical device market is supplied by imports. Most are sourced from the European Union, principally the Netherlands and Germany. There is a sizeable domestic production sector, with X-ray apparatus as a particular historic specialty, but this is largely geared towards export markets.

The size of the private healthcare sector is slowly expanding. The availability of private facilities improved significantly in 2000, when bed numbers increased three-fold. Over a quarter of health expenditure is private, although out-of-pocket payments account for most of this. In 2012, the Polish market for medical equipment and supplies was estimated at US$2,219 million, or US$58 per capita. The market experienced rapid growth until the end of 2008, but only moderate growth was seen in 2010. Improved import performance and a positive economic outlook will result in a stronger market growth over the next few years. Around 85% of the Polish medical device market is supplied by imports. Germany and the Netherlands were the leading suppliers in 2011, together accounting for around nearly half of imports. Germany was the leading supplier of most categories of medical equipment.

The Russian medical market is potentially huge, given its population of 142.8 million. Health expenditure remains low, however, and patients are often forced to rely on out-of-pocket payments for treatment. A system of medical insurance is in place, but it is badly managed and the quality of treatment varies from region to region. The Russian healthcare system retains many of its Soviet-era characteristics, remaining bureaucratic and inefficient. However, the government’s national ‘health’ project aims to improve healthcare standards. Since the project’s implementation, numerous medical facilities have been upgraded and a substantial number of medical personnel have been awarded salary increases. In 2012, the Russian market for medical equipment and supplies was estimated at US$5,456 million. Per capita spending was low by European standards at US$39 per capita. This is despite rapid growth, especially of imported products, in the 2006-08 and 2009-11 periods.

These Quarterly Updated Reports Analyse the Issues

The Outlook for Medical Device Markets in Central and Eastern Europe is published by Espicom Business Intelligence. Each report provides an individual and highly-detailed analysis of each market, looking at the key regulatory, political, economic and corporate developments in the wider context of market structure, service and access. The reports are available individually or as a discounted collection, and the price includes 4 completely updated reports sent quarterly and details of local medical equipment distributors.

Read the full report:

The Outlook for Medical Devices in Central & Eastern Europe

For more information:
Sarah Smith
Research Advisor at
Tel: +44 208 816 85 48

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