Over 2.5 million of Taiwan’s total population (23 million) is accounted for by citizens aged 65 or above. This figure constitutes nearly 11% of the population and is expected to increase to 20% by 2015. Average life expectancy in Taiwan is also improving – currently it is 78.5 years. These demographic trends provide growth opportunities for foreign medical device companies, especially those specializing in exporting geriatric products.
Taiwan currently ranks as the fourth largest medical device market in Asia at $1.7 billion. Because local medical device production caters to supplying export markets, the Taiwanese government will continue to rely on medical device imports to meet domestic demand. Currently, Taiwan imports about 75% of the domestic medical device market, with top selling products being products diagnosing cancer and diabetes, disposable medical supplies, blood monitors, and radiation devices.
As demand for medical devices grows due to the aging population, Taiwan can be expected to implement favorable regulatory policies to attract foreign medical device companies to the Taiwanese market. In fact, Taiwan’s Department of Health (DOH) has already streamlined the medical device approval process, with the average process time reduced to 82 days in 2011. In addition, while other Asian countries have increased the registration requirements, sometimes including local clinical trials (China and Korea), Taiwan still largely accepts foreign clinical data.