How big is South Africa's medical devices market?

Though a relatively insignificant player within the global sphere, the country’s medical device industry has sustainable trends fueling its growth.

Estimated to be worth north of R20 billion (US$1.2 billion), South Africa's medical devices market is roughly 0.3 percent of the global market - a drop in the ocean from a global point of view. While its expected to keep growing on the back of increased government spending, pro-localisation policies, population growth, increased life expectancy, and a growing’s disease burden, it is not without its fair share of challenges. The market is still characterised by high levels of imports and a high concentration of market participants, stifling the government’s efforts to have local manufacturers become meaningful players.

While at roughly R397 (US$24), the country’s per capita medical device expenditure is comparable to fellow BRICS countries, it pointedly lags behind more mature markets such as the US and Germany, which have per capita expenditures of R6,600 (US$399) and R5,180 (US$313) respectively, highlighting the room for growth. According to SAMED, which represents the 160+ companies operating in the sector, the industry employs over 4,000 and encompasses more than 300,000 different medical devices in use in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and amelioration of disease and disability.