Brazil is the largest market for medical devices in South America. This year, the market is expected to reach $8 billion in revenue. The country is both a major producer and a major importer, with demand focusing on lab equipment, implants, dental equipment, and radiological or diagnostic imaging equipment. As one of the largest economies in Latin America, the country is projected to become to a leading healthcare consumer.
There are only a few high-quality Brazilian device manufacturers, suggesting a growing reliance on imports for the country in the near future. According to analysts, the market for device imports will reach $9 billion as domestic manufacturers struggle to meet the demand of Brazil’s rapidly growing and aging population and quality standards of imported products. The United States represents approximately 30% of the import market, with U.S. manufacturers selling through local distributors and agents, and analysts expect that number to grow. Approximately 80% of all products used in Brazilian hospitals are imported. This creates significant opportunities for U.S. exporters—specifically for high-tech equipment, disposable items, diagnostic devices, and implants.
Reimbursement in Brazil
As a part of Brazil’s healthcare program, there’s a fixed reimbursement amount for procedures based on global averages. The value is calculated in six-month periods analyzing hospital accounts. Procedure classification follows WHO (World Health Organization) standards. Fixed payments can present a risk for hospitals, putting financial constraints around the procedures and reducing demand. Generally, procedure reimbursement operates on a regional scale, so reimbursement can vary.
The private sector in Brazil accounts for 68% of device purchases in Brazil, and the public sector accounts for almost 22%. States and municipalities are responsible for public sector procurement operations for medical devices and equipment. The process involves many methods of acquisition. For purchases over 650,000 real, there must be a public tender process that can take anywhere from one month to half a year. Contracts between 80,000 real and 650,000 real use price surveys. Purchases between 8,000 real and 80,000 real are required to solicit at least three RFPs (requests for proposal) from suppliers. Direct purchases are made under 8,000 real.
Private purchasers tend to make more frequent purchases in smaller quantities for a simplified process. Procurement methods by private organizations breakdown as follows: direct purchase (53%), price survey (24%), and RFPs (18%).