The Italian biomedical sector faced major challenges in 2020 and responded with energy and determination.

How to prepare for the year that has just begun?

Il settore biomedicale italiano/The Italian biomedical sector

Over the past few months, the medical device industry has found itself responding quickly to an unprecedented situation. The growing demand for equipment to cope with health emergencies has led to a dizzying increase in work rates and production.

However, Italian companies responded responsibly, demonstrating a spirit of adaptation and a willingness to cooperate in order to strengthen production capacity and, where necessary, convert it.

In an economic scenario that is still uncertain and severely affected by the ongoing pandemic, it remains a priority to maintain the same approach as in previous months: an ever vigilant attitude to react in the best possible way to changes in the health situation, responding to market demands.

The biomedical sector is an important component of the Italian industrial landscape, and a few figures are enough to understand it: more than 3,900 active companies, over 76,000 employees and a turnover of over 16.5 billion euros between imports and exports. An extremely heterogeneous supply chain, characterised by a highly specialised workforce and a strong vocation for R&D.

Districts such as that of Mirandola, in the province of Modena, are poles of world excellence, with leading companies in Europe that have been able to provide fundamental support to the healthcare system in the course of 2020. With more than 5,000 employees between manufacturing companies and allied industries, the district is a true international reference point in terms of the quality of its offerings and its focus on innovation.

The ongoing emergency situation, coupled with a worldwide vaccination campaign, immediately makes it clear that the biomedical sector will continue to play an extremely important role in 2021. For this reason, companies are called upon to innovate their operations in the months to come, seizing new strategic opportunities for the growth of their business inside and outside national borders.

How can this be achieved?

A crucial aspect to consider concerns the establishment of new partnerships along the value chain: the export vocation that has historically characterised the sector has been distinguished in recent years by a constant positive trend. More precisely, we are talking about an average annual growth of 4.7%, with the United States, France and Germany leading the ranking of Italy’s commercial partners.

It will therefore continue to be essential to monitor foreign markets, intercepting the demand for machinery, equipment and disposable devices that have always been at the heart of Italian biomedical production: the cancellation of trade fairs must not affect the ability of business to develop new relationships, especially abroad.

Germany will continue to be a fundamental partner for our country, and Sace forecasts speak of a recovery in exports to the area during this year. There are also interesting prospects for the Russian Federation, where the government has been financing the development of new healthcare facilities for some time with the aim of improving the services offered to the population. For electro-medical devices in particular, exports are expected to increase by around 10% in 2021.

Saudi Arabia is also a candidate among the most promising destinations for the Italian biomedical sector, thanks in particular to the investments made by the country’s Ministry of Health, which since 2011 has developed a series of infrastructural interventions to provide the nation with a hospital system that is still lacking.

These and many other opportunities await Italian entrepreneurs in the coming months: knowing the markets and the potential partners within them will be essential to create successful strategies.

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