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ELECTROMEDICAL DEVICES ACCOUNT FOR 44% OF MEDICAL EXPORTS

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

ELECTROMEDICAL DEVICES ACCOUNT FOR 44% OF MEDICAL EXPORTS in 1992, representing the bulk of U.S. exports of medical goods, the U.S. International Trade Commission says in its Industry & Trade Summary. "Increased foreign demand for medical imaging equipment, complete patient-monitoring systems, and innovative high- technology medical laser systems benefited U.S. firms, such as General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Marquette Electronics, Acuson, Spacelabs and Coherent," the report states. Medtronic continues to be the leading producer and exporter of cardiac pacemakers. Second to the electromedical equipment segment of the market (including x-ray equipment) was medical, dental, surgical and veterinary instruments, which constituted 38% of U.S. exports of medical goods. Orthopedic, prosthetic and surgical appliances and supplies accounted for 18% of medical exports. Medical exports for 1992 totaled $6.9 bil. During the five- year period tracked by ITC, 1988-1992, U.S. exports of medical goods increased an average of 16% per year. "Even though electromedical goods continued to dominate U.S. exports, compared to other major foreign producers of medical goods, the U.S. industry retained its position as the most broadly based supplier of medical goods in the world," ITC says. However, growth of exports of medical and surgical instruments, and orthopedic and prosthetic devices outpaced exports of electromedical equipment. According to ITC, "the U.S. industry faces much less competition from its major foreign competitors, Germany and Japan, in these sectors compared to what it faces in the electromedical sector, where competition is much more fierce." U.S. imports of medical equipment rose at about 10% per year to $4 bil. during the 1988-1992 period, with electromedical equipment accounting for almost 60% of that total. Germany and Japan led the list of suppliers of imports, representing nearly 50% of total medical imports in 1992. "Although other European countries supplied a large portion of the remaining imports, the establishment of production and assembly facilities by large U.S.- based firms, such as Baxter International, Abbott Laboratories, and Johnson & Johnson, in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, to save on labor costs, resulted in substantial growth in imports from those countries," the report states.
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