At an estimated US$120.4 billion in 2012, the US medical device market is the world's largest. Per capita expenditure, at US$381, is the second highest in the world.
Much of the market is in private hands; there is no single health system. Public healthcare systems, known as Medicaid, for those on low incomes, are operated by each State. Since 1960, the Medicare system has provided hospital care for the elderly; this has also provided prescription drug coverage since 2006.
As a result of the currently volatile state of the market, different rates of growth are anticipated between developed markets in the US and Western Europe, and the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific and Latin American countries.
According to 'Global Medical Devices Survey 2013-2014 - Market Trends, Buyer Spend and Procurement Strategies in the Global Medical Devices Industry,' Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the US, the UK, Germany, and South Korea have been identified as the most important regions for growth amongst developed markets. Although concern over the implementation of healthcare reforms in 2013 has reduced growth optimism in the US, growth prospects are still high amongst developed countries.
A medical device is an instrument, apparatus, implant, in vitro reagent, or similar or related article that is used to diagnose, prevent, or treat disease or other conditions, and does not achieve its purposes through chemical action within or on the body (which would make it a drug).
Whereas medicinal products (also called pharmaceuticals) achieve their principal action by pharmacological, metabolic or immunological means, medical devices act by other means like physical, mechanical, or thermal means.
Medical devices vary greatly in complexity and application. Examples range from simple devices such as tongue depressors, medical thermometers, and disposable gloves to advanced devices such as computers which assist in the conduct of medical testing, implants, and prostheses. The design of medical devices constitutes a major segment of the field of biomedical engineering.
With an increase in the aging population, high unmet medical needs, and increased incidence of lifestyle diseases (including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity), the US medical device industry continues to grow at a brisk pace.
The top three key changes expected for 2013 include: the introduction of 'new products and services', 'expansion in the current market and abroad', and 'improvement in operational efficiency'.
For more information on the medical devices market, see the latest research: Medical Devices Market Research
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