Our 12th Year of Publication
Page 1 of 2

Cover Story

The European Union (EU) market for Medical Devices and Medical Disposables

(REPORT SUMMARY : CBI Market Survey On Medical Devices and Medical Disposables, May 2004)

This survey profiles the European Union (EU) market for Medical Devices and Medical Disposables. The emphasis of the survey lies on a selection of products, which are of particular relevance to developing country suppliers. The major national markets within the EU for those products are highlighted and a number of useful addresses are provided. Furthermore, statistical market information on consumption, production and trade, and information on trade structure and prices and margins is provided. In addition, special attention has been paid to the market situation of medical devices and medical disposables in the ten new member states, which joined the European Union on the first of May 2004. However, unless otherwise stated, statistical data used to compile this study relate to the fifteen EU member countries (EU-15) before the enlargement of the EU.

The purpose of this publication is twofold. First, by providing relevant market information exporters are alerted to market developments and export opportunities. Second, the analysis itself demonstrates how an exporter could gather and analyse market information and use this to develop an export strategy. Regarding the second point, the current publication serves as additional sector specific reference point to the more general CBI manuals, such as ‘Exporting to the EU’, ‘Your image builder’, and ‘Export Planner’.

Together with the United States, the European Union is the world’s leading market for medical devices and medical disposables. Both the total size of population and the strong economy are major causes for this predominance. With a population of 454 million people, the enlarged EU has an abundant availability of potential end-users and their strong economies stimulate high per capita consumption of medical devices and medical disposables. A third factor determining the market size, and which makes the EU an attractive market for exporters from developing countries, is the sophisticated state of the market. For example, stringent monitoring of sterility procedures and preventive inoculation of whole sectors of population are common practice in the EU and lead to high figures for consumption of medical disposables.

The medical devices and medical disposables discussed in the current survey are the following:

Medical disposables:

Wadding, gauze and bandages
Latex medical disposables
Syringes, needles and catheters
Wound closure products
Nappies and similar hygiene products

Medical devices:

Medical and surgical instruments and appliances
Medical & diagnostic equipment
Ophthalmic instruments
X-ray equipment
Laboratory diagnostics
Dental instruments


The EU-15 is one of the leading markets for medical devices and medical disposables in the world, with consumption of the selected items amounting to ? 28,101 million in 2002. Germany is the largest consumer of medical devices and medical disposables within the European Union, with over 26 percent of total EU consumption. Italy is the second largest market with a 20 percent share, followed by the United Kingdom (16 %), France (12 %) and Spain (8 %). Among the factors influencing the market for medical devices and disposables are the aging population, rising levels of income in the EU countries, but also increased health consciousness, which all lead to increased expenditures on medical devices and disposables. At the same time, pressure on overall health budgets puts demands on manufacturers to lower costs.

Page 2

Back | Back to Top | Next