Supply chain
Healthcare startups urged to tap US market for preventive medicine wearables
Mark Tsai, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES

The US is now the world's largest market for medical supplies and equipment, and Taiwan's healthcare startups and smart medication solutions providers can better tap into the US market with wearable devices for preventive medicine applications, according to Lily Wong, a managing director at PwC Taiwan.

Wong cited statistics from the biotech development division under Taiwan's economics ministry as indicating that the US commanded 42% of US$389 billion in annual global market demand for medical products in 2018, with the nation's medical expenses accounting for 17.6% of its GDP, much higher than 6% in Taiwan.

Wong said up to 75% of a total of 5,453 hospitals in the US are private ones, which are keen to introduce innovative medical technologies and devices, especially wearable devices for preventive medicine applications that can help reduce medium- and long-term care expenses on the aging baby-boomer generation and chronic patients.

While the Software as Medical Device (SaMD) industry is developing rapidly, the US still has to source 30% of its medical supplies and equipment from abroad, with the imports recording a CAGR of 5.5% during 2012-2017. Taiwan ranked 19th with only a 0.8% share of global medical supplies shipments to the US during the period, with the top-five exporters being Holland, Japan, Belgium, China and Canada.

Wang indicated Taiwan-based smart healthcare startups and biotech solutions providers can also move to develop innovations on high-end computed tomography and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging systems, for which many US hospitals still show strong buying momentum.

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