This presentation presents a broad outline of the medical device industry, which is characterized by:
- Continual technological advancement.
- High profitability.
- Sustained growth.
Typically, a device begins life as discovery of a new material or novel technology that addresses a gap in treatment or facilitates a better approach to patient care. Successful development of a device occurs along three dimensions, i) efforts to demonstrate the product causes no harm and improves patients outcomes culminate in regulatory approval or clearance, ii) insurers accept value by acceding to reimburse product and related procedures, and iii) purchasers and consumers adopt at a sufficient enough commercial scale. The tri-fold development requirements represent a significant barrier to new entrants. As with other technologies, however, devices tend to have finite life-spans as patents expire, and newer products further improve upon incumbent solutions.
Pricing tends to be divorced from the purchasing decisions as buyers’ (physicians’) decisions do not depend (primarily) on price, consumers (patients) largely purchase insurance coverage and do not directly pay for the device, are payers (insurers) are a step removed from the prescription and delivery of care services.
As with many other healthcare sub-segments, demographic shifts and global economic trends underlie sustained growth expected in the market for medical devices.