£810 / $1295 / €985
The UK has one of the largest medical device markets in the world, valued at US$8.9 billion in 2012. The domestic market vies with France as the second largest in Europe behind Germany. Per capita expenditure is equal to US$142. The UK market for medical devices is predicted to increase by 6.0% per annum to attain a value of US$11.9 billion by 2017.
The growth of the UK medical device market is predominantly import-led as many domestic manufacturers are not able to rapidly adjust to changes in demand. This has led to a succession of trade deficits since 2001. A significant portion of the market, around 88% of the total, is made up of imports. These have started displaying growth again in 2011 and latest annual data to July 2012 shown that imports grew by 2.5% over the previous corresponding annual total.
In 2011, total health expenditure was estimated at US$234 billion. Of this, an estimated 84% was spent by the public sector. The Conservative/Liberal-Democrat coalition government has focused on reducing the deficit and healthcare spending is one area the current administration has been looking at to create savings and efficiencies. From a medical device perspective, the government plans to introduce a barcoding system and a price comparison website, to facilitate more transparent and lower prices paid for products across the country by the various NHS hospital trusts.
The coalition government has also unveiled a substantial reform programme for the management of the NHS. Under it, several layers of bureaucracy are to be removed, and General Practitioners given control of their own budgets. Patients are to be given the right to treatment in any public or private facility which charges according to the NHS Tariff. The plans ran into severe opposition in 2011, however, and a large number of amendments have been made to what was a complex bill to begin with. The legislation was passed by parliament in March 2012.
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