Insights and Opportunities
Overview: Healthcare expenditures in Argentina amount to approximately $6.1 billion in 2008 (versus $24 billion in 2000), or 4.5% of GDP. This dramatic decrease in annual expenditures is largely due to the currency devaluation in 2002. While the healthcare market has not completely recovered, imports of goods that cannot be supplied by the local market continued to grow during 2008. Imports in the healthcare sector experienced a severe downturn due to the devaluation of the Argentine peso in January 2002. To alleviate the cost burdens of the sector, the national government passed Law 25590 and Decree 486/02 (Healthcare/Sanitary Emergency in force from 2002 extended until December 31, 2009). This legislation exempts from taxes and duties imports of some critical new medical products that are not manufactured in Argentina.
In a sector that is highly supplied by imports, the U.S. continues to lead the import market, with a 33% market share, particularly in higher-end technology products. Imports in the overall medical product sector have traditionally accounted for almost 75% of the total market. U.S. companies that offer high quality products at competitive prices can still find niche opportunities in the Argentine market.
The market has been growing rapidly in the past four years, gradually approaching pre-devaluation import levels, although the total market size has decreased in dollar terms due to the devalued peso. Imports of medical equipment and instruments (supplies were not considered) were estimated to account for approximately $266 million in 2008, with the U.S. comprising $88 million of this segment. The rising trend of imports from the U.S. that started with a peak growth in 2005 (a 65% growth versus 2004 figures) will continue, although at a lower and more stable rate during 2009.
Best Prospects/Services: Medical equipment components and parts; Ultrasound diagnostic equipment; Implants, stents, cardiac valves, pacemakers; Hearing aids; Specialized disposables (catheters, cannulae, electrodes, chemo-dialysis filters); Surgical instruments; and Intraocular lenses.