Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The sector is growing rapidly and is heavily dependent on imports.
The market for medical technology and devices in the United Kingdom, around $9.6 billion in 2016, is the sixth-largest in the world. Business Monitor International expects a growth of 12.5 percent through 2019. Three-quarters of the demand is met by imports, providing opportunities for Wisconsin firms.
The biggest buyer is the National Health Service (NHS), with a market share of 83 percent. Only about 8 percent of UK citizens have private health insurance; the rest use public services. Subdivisions of the NHS manage the procurement for all public hospitals. Like all public institutions in the UK, they must announce all opportunities and awarded contracts on https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder.
The UK’s aging population increasingly suffers from age-related problems. The government promotes disabled and elderly independence, which creates opportunities for Wisconsin providers of technology for rehabilitation and orthopedics. In 2015, UK medical firms imported orthopedic technology worth $2.1 billion and diagnostic imaging equipment for $1.2 billion. A current trend is investment in e-health services for diagnostics and consultations. In February 2016, NHS England had set aside $71.5 million to reward physicians and hospitals that make their referrals completely digital by 2018.
Among other current projects, the Royal Liverpool University Hospital is being built for $435 million. Before the scheduled opening in September 2017, the NHS will spend another $122 million on equipment for the new hospital. An invitation to bid on provision of this equipment will be announced on the UK contract finder.
U.S. companies exported medical equipment worth nearly $1 billion to the UK in 2015. Hence, the U.S. is the most important overseas sources of medical devices, with an estimated 8.4 percent share of the market in 2015. U.S. firms are leading suppliers of diagnostic, dental and orthopedic equipment, high quality wound care products and e-health services to the UK. The strong annual growth of 4 percent provides excellent business opportunities for medical device manufacturers in Wisconsin. In 2015, Wisconsin firms exported medical, surgical and dental equipment like electrocardiographs, ultrasonic scanners, ultraviolet and x-ray apparatus and equipment valued at more than $33 million to the UK. Strong export activity has been reported for 2016 as well. Through July 2016, Wisconsin firms exported medical equipment worth $20.8 million.
A good first step for entering the UK market is the Med-Tech Innovation Trade Show, April 26-27, 2017, in Coventry, UK (www.mtiexpo-uk.com).