Insights and Opportunities
Overview: Brazil is the largest medical equipment market in South America. The total market for medical equipment in Brazil should continue to expand through 2009. Brazil is both a major medical equipment producer and importer. This industry is comprised of a number of related products and services, including: Medical equipment and devices; Dental equipment and products; Radiological and diagnostic imaging equipment; and Laboratory equipment.
Brazilian medical equipment revenues in 2007 reached an estimated $4.1 billion, which represents an increase of 30% from the previous year. The U.S. accounts for approximately 40% of the import market, with U.S. sales mainly going through local agents, distributors and importers who sell to hospitals and clinics. The market for electro medicine equipment is around U.S. $200 million, which represents 50% of total sales in Latin America. There are few high-quality Brazilian manufacturers of advanced medical products so Brazil’s reliance on imports should continue for some time. Local buyers view U.S. and other foreign products (mainly Canadian and European) as having comparable quality and reliability. Thus, financing terms often become the differentiating criteria in making a sale.
Best Products/Services: Advanced medical equipment; Disposables; Diagnostic devices; and Implants and components.
Opportunities: An interesting trend in Brazil is the growing market for home health care products, which has increased dramatically in recent years. Brazil has an estimated 150 home health care companies compared to approximately 1,440 in the U.S. In Brazil, these companies are increasingly viewed as ways to cut hospitalization costs while offering better services for patients.
Brazilian health insurance companies are responsible for paying 99% of the costs related to home care treatment, and as such, the U.S. Commercial Service sees the market for home health care products growing dramatically during the coming years. Brazil’s Regional Nursing Council is currently developing procedures on how to regulate this market, including standards for health professionals. In addition to the attractive size of the Brazilian medical market, U.S. exporters should consider the opportunities offered by Mercosul, and use Brazil as a "spring board" for export into Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Since compulsory product registration before sale is required for all of Mercosul countries, U.S. exporters should consult a local lawyer/consultant before signing a contract with any agent/distributor.