DCI: pent-up demand may benefit manufacturers

Pent-up demand should benefit medical equipment manufacturers

Manufacturers of medical devices and equipment bet on the repressed consumption and in segments that have been little explored to continue growing in the country. The industry believes that the economic uncertainties should not affect demand.

“Our market is one of those that suffer less impact in moments like this. People do not give up their health,” says the CEO of Omron Healthcare, Wanderley Cunha. “We grew 9% last year and in 2018 the goal is to advance 17%.” The Japanese company has been operating in Brazil for ten years and produces blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors, body composition monitors, inhalers, electronic thermometers, and professional medical devices.

Cunha says the company is a leader in the pressure monitor market, but has room to grow. “The category is still developing, it is not mature. There are 36 million hypertensive people in Brazil and about two million units of monitors are sold per year. There are many people who still don’t own a device, so there is a great sales opportunity”, he clarifies.

The executive evaluates positively the year so far and expects an even better second semester. “Sales are happening and we have had an average growth rate of 10% so far. The 2nd semester is stronger for the company, we will have a series of media actions and the expectation is that the market will respond, even within the current conditions.”

Omron, which has plants in São Paulo and Diadema (SP), recently announced the construction of a plant in Jundiaí (SP). “We will invest about R$ 60 million. The expectation is to start operating in 2019 and the trend is for the operation to supply the demand in Brazil and Latin America. We should increase our production five times in the country”, estimates the executive.

The general manager of Abbot in Brazil, Juan Carlos Ganoa, evaluates that although the current market conditions are not ideal, the company has a positive performance. “We started more optimistic in the 1st quarter, but we understand that the scenario is less dynamic. Still, healthcare is a very resistant sector, it is usually the last to enter a crisis.”

The company, with factories in Belo Horizonte (MG) and Rio de Janeiro, produces devices for monitoring diabetes and pressure and bets on the development of less invasive technologies. “We have grown above the market for our innovations. It may not be one of the best years, but Abbott is doing well and Brazil continues as one of the main markets”, guarantees Ganoa.

In 2016, the company opened a development center in Rio de Janeiro. “We invested about R$ 20 million in the laboratory and develop molecules and global products in Brazil.”

According to a Q1 industry survey, production, sales, consumption and labor had an increase compared to the end of 2017. “We feel an improvement this year. The sector has the characteristic of being detached from the economy. In this area, the demand does not change, due to factors such as the concern with health and the aging population,” says the president of the Brazilian Association of High Technology Industry of Health Products (Abimed), Carlos Goulart.

He admits that the instability of the economy can have a negative influence, but not enough to cause concern. “The scenario affects the budget of the public sector, and the private sector can be impacted by the rise in the dollar, due to the importation of inputs. But demand exists and should not decrease. The outlook remains positive,” he points out.

External Market
The CEO of Mazzaferro, Claudio Mazzaferro, says that the plan of the company, specialized in suture threads and surgical meshes, is to expand the export operation. “We have 85% of the market share in the Brazilian market. That will not be the field for growth. We want to accelerate our penetration in the global market, selling to Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.” With a plant located in São Paulo, in 2017 the company sold 53 million meters for sutures, of which 43% went to the domestic market. “We envision a proportional growth and, by 2020, sell 70% of our production outward. We want to become a global reference player through innovation. The market has been using practically the same products for 30 years”, states Mazzaferro. The executive reveals that the company is also investing to compete in the orthopedic area. “There is a pent-up demand, with only two or three suppliers in the world. We are investing approximately R$4 million to bring technologies that allow us to enter this segment.”

Published on DCI newspaper (São Paulo) and republished on the InvestSP website on June 22nd, 2018: