China’s 12th Five-Year Plan Shifts Focus to Domestic Medical Devices

Recently, China passed the 12th Five-Year Plan. The new plan supports three initiatives with respect to medical devices – 1. to increase the development of China-made medical equipment, 2. to implement centralized procurement, and 3. to purchase domestic medical devices. The health care reform for the domestic medical device industry provides unprecedented opportunities for biomedical development.

Compared with foreign medical device companies, Chinese domestic medical firms are still relatively weak. For example, Wei Gao is a Chinese company that manufactures and sells single-use medical devices such as syringes. It is currently competing with Becton Dickenson. At present, Becton Dickenson controls 75% of these sales in China. For high-end products, foreign companies still account for the majority of the market share. In 2010, GE, Siemens, Philips, Toshiba, and Neusoft accounted for 92% of the domestic market share for CT equipments.

Despite the examples above, Chinese medical devices are becoming more sophisticated and more international. More domestically made Chinese medical devices are competing in the Class 3 sector, not just in the Class 1 or 2 sectors. For example, LePu is a Chinese maker of drug eluting stents. In addition to increasing its market share in China, LePu is hoping to sell about 20% of their locally-made Chinese products overseas in a few years.