Why Latin America Is One of the World’s Hottest Hospital Markets

As global marketing and business development executives for pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and medical devices look to expand their footprints — and sales — on a worldwide level, emerging hospital markets like Latin America and Asia make sense to target aggressively.

It comes down to numbers: Latin America has more than 20,000 hospitals, compared to 5,754 for the United States, for example. By itself, Brazil is #4 in the world in terms of amount of hospitals, with 7,878, behind Japan (8,565), India (8,652) and China (23,170).

In fact, Brazil and Mexico are both in the top 10 of countries with the most hospitals: the amount of hospitals in Mexico is 3,658, more than Germany or France and more than 5 times the amount of hospitals in Canada (725).

Beyond Brazil and Mexico, other key hospital markets in Latin America are Colombia (with 2,554 hospitals), Argentina (2,306 hospitals) and Chile (383 hospitals). While Chile’s amount of hospitals may seem relatively small, keep in mind that it has more hospitals than Switzerland (298), the Netherlands (259) and Belgium (191), among other markets.

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Growth Prospects

Of course, the greater opportunity for global medical equipment or device brands is not just in the sheer number of hospitals: it’s about the rapidly growing demand that Latin American hospitals have for this equipment.

In tracking this growth with our HospiScope database, we’ve seen hospitals in Latin America significantly grow their equipment counts in 2017. For example:

  • Mexican hospitals increased nuclear medicine systems by more than 50%, MRI machines by 24% and gamma cameras by 17%
  • Brazilian hospitals increased their EKG machine counts by 34%, their MRI machines by 9% and their CAT scanners by 7%
  • Argentine hospitals increased their counts MRI machines, EKG machines, endoscopy towers, ventilators and EEG machines by more than 50%
  • Chilean hospitals increased their stereotactic mammography machine counts by 34% in 2017, while also increasing their counts of MRI machines (20%), ultrasound machines (14%), CAT scanners (10%) and EKG machines (3%)
  • Colombian hospitals increased their counts of ultrasound machines by 44% in 2017, while also elevating their counts of X-ray machines (42%), EKG machines (40%), MRI machines (37%) and EEG machines (25%)

And that’s just the bigger markets. HospiScope also tracked strong 2017 growth in equipment counts for hospitals in Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Guatemala and other smaller markets.

The figures from HospiScope jibe well with a different set of numbers for 2017: the amounts of different equipment types imported into Latin American countries. We’ve already noted significant growth in Brazil, Chile, Peru and Argentina, among other markets.

Solidify Your Share

Given the current health trends (the rise in NCDs) and demographic shifts (the projected explosion in seniors) in Latin America, it seems likely that the region’s 20,000+ hospitals will become bigger battlegrounds as established players jockey for position while also fending off companies from Asia that are starting to explore the LatAm market. And since market intelligence can often give you the edge over competitors, you may want to explore using ShareScope for a data-driven third-party evaluation of your market share in different countries, as well as In-Scope to obtain intelligence on competitors or more detailed market studies.

​Real prospects, real fast

The Asian Hospital Market

You may have noticed the huge numbers for Asian hospital markets — like China — that we cited at the beginning of the piece. So have any number of medical equipment manufacturers, but Asian countries present their own challenges for market entry. That’s why here at Global Health Intelligence we have been working to offer market intelligence for the Asian healthcare market, which you can find here. Beyond those preliminaries, our experienced team can also help you with ad-hoc custom research for the Asian hospital market.

Contact us directly to explore more.

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