The medical technology industry plays an integral part of Australia’s world leading healthcare ecosystem. It is currently growing at an unprecedented rate of 8-10% per annum.
This industry is comprised of a diverse network of established Australian and international companies as well as, medtech start-ups supporting early stage ventures and their growth. The flourishing Australian research environment and modern facilities also, makes it a great location to test and develop digital health solutions.
World leading healthcare ecosystem
The Australian healthcare industry with an estimated total revenue in 2018 of $152 billion, includes a range of health services and facilities. General hospitals account for over half of Australia’s health service revenue, with general practitioners, clinical specialists and dentists representing significant revenue streams.
Although highly cost conscious, the Australian healthcare industry is receptive to innovation and new products especially medical devices which simplify the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and illnesses.
With access to a $20 billion future fund, the largest endowment fund in the world, modern research facilities and a robust regulatory environment, makes Australia an ideal healthcare partner for global medtech companies looking for new markets to improve patient outcomes and sustainability.
Some of the most successful businesses within the medtech industry are in –
- in vitro diagnostics (IVD)
- diagnostic imaging
- medical software that adapts SaaS and/or utilises artificial intelligence and artificial learning.
Australian medtech industry statistics
- In 2018, the Australian medtech industry was valued at $12 billion.
- 80% of medical devices used in Australia have been imported.
- In 2016, there were over 500 Medtech companies in Australia.
- The industry employs more than 19,000 employees.
- In 2012, it was estimated the advanced medical technology market in the Asia-Pacific region total worth of 18.5% (Australia’s part in this total was 1.98%).
- The Medical technology, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical (MTP) Industry Growth Centre – released sector metrics that show jobs supported by the MTP sector increased by 10% to 62,000 from 2015 to 2016, and that manufacturing exports were up by 30% to $5.2 billion. The data, sourced by MTPConnect from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), highlights the progress the local MTP sector has made to maintain and extend its world-class standing in recent years.
- AusBiotech, Australian industry body for life sciences,CEO Glenn Cross said Australia’s medtech industry was growing at 8 to 10 per cent a year.
Cochlear is Australia’s largest medical device company and global leader in implantable hearing solutions. They design, manufacture hearing implants, holding over two thirds of the world hearing implant market. In 2016, Cochlear’s Asia Pacific (APAC) sales totalled over $210 million (18% of total sales)
Medtronic is the largest overseas medtech company in Australia. Medtronic Australasia employs more than 800 staff across Australia and New Zealand and is best known for its life changing insulin pumps for diabetes sufferers.
Challenges of the Australian medtech industry
The current challenges within the Australian medtech industry include –
The nature of medical technology requires a highly skilled, educated and flexible workforce. A Medical Technology Association of Australia study found a gap between current and desired employment of around 3%, representing 660 works on top of a workforce of more than 19,000 employees. High quality education and skills training is required.
For Australia to become an innovative medical technology powerhouse, risk taking, and ambition need to be encouraged. Seeking and taking advantage of international knowledge, talent and capital, engaging in more ambitious projects and the removal of barriers to innovation will create sustained, long term success.
Greater commercialisation success
Australian medtech companies need more products to reach proof-of-concept and early stage commercialisation and a greater number of medium to large companies with late-stage product successes. As well as opening opportunities to maximise the value of intellectual property. These can be achieved through more collaboration with international medtech companies.
Opportunities in the Australian medtech industry
Australian healthcare facilities see imported devices as innovative and cost-effective, in an industry that is highly conscious of costs.
- Australia’s highly developed healthcare industry is consistently seeking innovative medical devices, particularly technology that can treat and manage age-related diseases. It is also seeking medical devices that manage disability, chronic pain and improve recovery times of patients.
- From a regulatory standpoint, the Australian market is very accessible for devices that already carry CE Marking.
- Innovation and Science Australia chair Bill Ferris, sees Australia as becoming a world leader in genomic medicine. The ‘My Health Record’ database (opt-out and privacy issues have been well covered), which covers 90% of the Australian population, is a valuable resource for better service delivery, prognosis, diagnosis and the basis for new business applications such as precision medicine.
- The Federal Government has also developed a digital health strategy delivering a framework for secondary data use from this immense database.
Australian medtech industry support
Austrade has launched a digital health website showcasing Australia as an ideal location for developing, testing and launching the next generation of digital medical technologies. It lists useful links and contacts in government and industry, to find out more.
The Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) is the national association of Australia representing companies in the medical technology industry. MTAA provides information to assist better decision-making by medical technology businesses to facilitate success in product development, manufacturing and business. They also support future sustainability by encouraging links between industry, research bodies and government; and, are the leading advocate for industry issues and raise community awareness of the Australian medical technology industry.
In focus: The new Korean bio health strategy
In May 2019, the South Korean resident, Moon Jae-in, announced an ‘Innovative Strategy on the Bio-health Industry’. This partnership between Australia and South Korea will provide collaboration opportunities across various sectors such as the commercialisation of research and development, clinical trials and digital health.
Australia’s diverse digital health ecosystems and a national interoperable infrastructure allows Korean companies and investors with new digital health products and services to choose Australia as a test bed to validate, launch and commercialise new products and services as part of their global expansion.
Australia’s Medical Technology industry is in high growth, transforming Australian health outcomes, but needs international products, knowledge, talent and capital from global healthcare partners. If Australia is on your radar for expansion, we would love to be able to use our Australian business and medtech industry experience to help you navigate the opportunities. Contact us here or call our offices on +61 2 8916 6259.
Let’s find out more!
International medical devices require Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval before you can import into Australia. Read our blog about the TGA, TGA sponsorship and what your business needs for TGA compliance to get your medical products to market.
What’s involved in importing my medical technology or device into Australia? Our blog How do I import goods into Australia will give you an outline on the taxes and processes to bring goods across the border.