It’s been rather paradoxical that a large hospital market like Latin America—with 20,000+ hospitals in the region and 7,800 in Brazil alone— has had so little hard data available about these hospitals, but that’s how it’s been for many years. However, that’s changing as research companies work to gauge the size of the market to determine which areas have the most potential for growth.
Somewhat of a Surge in Imports
Upon tracking the Latin American hospital market, it’s obvious that there are some impressive growth trends happening. In reviewing medical equipment/device import statistics for different countries during 2017, some of the hotter markets include:
- Brazil: After a downward trend in medical equipment imports due to the recession that started in 2014, in 2017 Brazil posted a 15% increase in the value of medical equipment imported and 43% growth in the quantities of imported medical equipment.
- Argentina: The value of medical equipment imported into Argentina went up by 10% in 2017, while quantities of imports grew by 7%.
- Chile: The value of medical equipment imported went up by 15%, while quantities went up by 22%.
- Peru: This country posted a big drop in value of medical equipment imports (-14%) while paradoxically having a big increase in quantities of imports (48%).
Of course, not all Latin American markets enjoyed growth in medical equipment imports in 2017. For example, Mexico went down considerably in both import value (-19%) and quantities (also -19%), as did Colombia, which dropped by 7% in import value and by 37% in quantities.
While imports tell part of the story, granular data— obtained directly from Latin American hospitals— offers additional evidence to suggest that growth is indeed happening in the market. In surveying hospitals around the region, a pattern emerges whereby certain markets are growing certain types of equipment counts significantly. The following is a look at the spikes in both major and minor markets.
Argentina (2,306 hospitals)
Between 2016 and 2017, Argentine hospitals reported the following increases in equipment counts:
- >50% growth in counts of MRI machines, EEG machines, ventilators and electrocardiogram machines
- 47% growth in endoscopy towers
Brazil (7,878 hospitals)
Between 2016 and 2017, Brazilian hospitals reported the following increases in equipment counts
- 34% growth in electrocardiogram machines
- 10% growth in endoscopy machines
- 9% growth in MRI machines
- 7% growth in CT scanners
- 4% growth in X-ray machines
Mexico (3,658 hospitals)
Between 2016 and 2017, Mexican hospitals reported the following increases in equipment counts:
- >50% growth in nuclear medicine systems
- 26% growth in stereotactic mammography machines
- 24% growth in MRI machines
- 17% growth in gamma cameras
- 6% growth in electrocardiogram machines
Colombia (2,554 hospitals)
Between 2016 and 2017, Colombian hospitals reported the following increases in equipment counts:
- 44% growth in ultrasound machines
- 42% growth in X-Ray machines
- 40% growth in electrocardiogram machines
- 37% growth in MRI machines
- 25% growth in EEG machines
Chile (384 hospitals)
Between 2016 and 2017, Chilean hospitals reported the following increases in equipment counts:
- 34% growth in stereotactic mammography machines
- 20% growth in MRI machines
- 14% growth in ultrasound machines
- 10% growth in CT scanners
- 3% growth in electrocardiogram machines
Peru (817 hospitals)
Between 2016 and 2017, Peruvian hospitals reported the following increases in equipment counts:
- 28% growth in electrocardiogram machines
- 27% growth in ultrasound machines
- 19% growth in CT scanners
- 24% growth in MRI machines
- 10% growth in stereotactic mammography machines
While we focus more on year-by-year tracking of the region’s hospitals, it’s interesting that growth we have seen dovetails with longer-term projections made by other research companies when it comes to certain medical equipment categories in Latin America. For example, our data cited above shows that hospitals in different Latin American countries increased their amounts of MRI machines in 2017, while Market Data Forecast projects that the Latin American MRI system market will grow with a CAGR of 6.5% between 2016 and 2021. Market Data Forecast also projects strong growth for ultrasound equipment—a CAGR of 6.93% between 2016 and 2021—that parallels the reported increases in ultrasound equipment that we obtained from hospitals in Latin American markets.
Dealing with Demand
Two main trends are behind this growth: Demographics and epidemiological shifts, both of which are likely to deepen over the coming decades. In terms of demographic drivers, the Latin American population is aging considerably. Right now there are 71 million people in Latin America who are 60+ years old—but that number will double by 2035, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). By 2055 there will be 214 million people in LatAm that are 60 years or older—a 200% increase compared to this year. Older populations are generally sicker, suggesting Latin American hospitals could see a powerful upsurge in patients just within the next decade.
In terms of epidemiological drivers, Latin America has also experienced a significant increase in non-communicable diseases that could increase rates of hospitalization and subsequent impact on the healthcare system:
- Obesity rates will reach more than 60% for women and more than 50% for men by 2030
- The cancer death rate is projected to increase by 106% by 2030
- Dementia in the region will expand from 7.8 million cases today to more than 27 million by 2050
- 10% of the population has diabetes and by 2030 around 15 million more people in the region will be diagnosed with this condition
As such, even with the cyclical downturns common to Latin American economies, over the long term the hospitals and healthcare market in the region should offer continual growth opportunities for medical device/equipment companies, as well as pharmaceutical firms.