China Medical Device Import and Export Data in 2016

(Source: camdi.org)

A few days ago, China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Medicines & Health Products (CCCMHPIE) issued General Situation of China Pharmaceutical Foreign Trade 2016 and analyzed the situation for pharmaceutical foreign trade in 2017 involving large amounts of data related to medical devices.

According to the report of CCCMHPIE, the current situation of medical device import and export in China mainly present the following characteristics:

1. The import is doing better than export
According to the import and export data from the Customs, in 2016, the import and export scale amounted to $38.91 billion USD, with a year-over-year growth of 3.3%. Among them, the amount of imports was $18.40 billion USD, with a year-over-year growth of 6.28%; and the amount of exports was $20.50 billion USD, with a year-over-year drop of 3.14%.

2. The import substitution rate of domestic medical equipment is increasing
In 2016, the import of medical device products in China had successfully taken the lead in the field of medical product import. However, the import growth rate of diagnosis and treatment equipment in hospitals is slowing.

It is because that the relevant supporting policies for medical products in China are progressively improved. For instance, the government has formulated a plan on the equipment with domestic medical equipment for medical institutions. The high-end products in medical image and biochemical analysis manufactured by domestic enterprises have gradually met the demands of the domestic market as well.

3. The dressing export drops significantly
In 2016, the medical device export in China as a whole presented negative growth, which mainly resulted from an overly fast decrease in dressing and medical consumable exports that previously had advantages while the tendency that high value-added diagnostic equipment will completely replace the previous competitive products has not been formed thoroughly.

In 2016, FDA enacted a decree to prohibit medical latex gloves that dealt a blow to disposable medical consumable exporters in China. In addition, FDA established a UDI system for special medical devices, accordingly increasing the costs of China exporters.

4. The export structure is being adjusted
Seen from the types of medical devices for export, the product structure is under great adjustment and improvement. In the past, China’s medical device exports were mainly build on medical dressings and disposable consumables. However, currently, the export proportion of small medical equipment and high value-added products is higher and higher. In 2016, the exports of medical diagnostic equipment account for 16%, while dressings and disposable consumables only account for 4.2% and 5.9%, among which the exports of dressings decreased by nearly 10% compared with that in the previous year. Generally, the medical device export of China is still in the growing stage and thus there is much space to develop it.

5. Trade remedy cases against China
In 2016, there were a total of 8 foreign trade remedy cases that medical products of China had suffered. The case-involved products comprise not only competitive active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) such as sodium gluconate, tartaric acid, diclofenac sodium, amoxicillin, levofloxacin carboxylic acid and ofloxacin, but also the increasingly powerful medical devices in China such as the human models for medical training and the therapy system for sleep-disordered breathing.