£810 / $1295 / €985
Latvia is one of the smallest countries in Europe. It joined the EU in May 2004. In 2012, it has an estimated population of 2.2 million with the most populous city being Riga, the capital. As with other European countries, Latvia has an ageing population: those aged 65 and over represent 17.9% of the population.
Funding for healthcare in Latvia is managed by the State Compulsory Health Insurance Agency, although funds are gathered largely through general taxation; there is also a high level of out-of-pocket drug expenditure. Efforts have been made to improve primary care provision in Latvia. The healthcare system inherited from the Soviet Union still retains some of its old features, such as an overreliance on secondary facilities and use of outdated equipment.
The Latvian economy has been hit severely by the economic crisis, with GDP contracting by nearly 18% in 2009. The government is attempting to rebalance its finances, and received a 4.5 billion euro loan from the IMF to support the country as it stabilized its economy. With eurozone accession not only a government priority, but also very much a reality, the government has embarked upon considerable austerity measures; cuts in healthcare spending have formed part of this.
The medical equipment market grew strongly until 2008, but has fallen back since then, as the country’s ability to import goods has fallen. It is estimated at US$123.5 million in 2012, equal to US$55.8 per capita and 6.5% of health expenditure. Eurozone accession, expected for 2014, should minimise some of the risks associated with medical device imports and exports, with a common currency facilitating trade within the EU.
Around 80% of the medical device market is supplied by imports, which are usually sourced from western Europe. Latvia has a small domestic industry that concentrates on exporting to other former Soviet markets.
The Medical Device Market Hungary
The Medical Device Market Lithuania