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France, a major player in medical devices

France, a major player in medical devices

24 Oct 2021

France, a major player in the field of medical devices France can count on multiple strengths in its bid to become a world leader in the medical devices market, a sector that enjoys significant public support.

With 32,000 businesses specializing in medical technologies and a market estimated at around €120 billion in 2018, Europe is the second-largest medical devices market after the United States. With 1,502 businesses, generating annual turnover of €30 billion, France is Europe’s second-largest medical technologies market, after Germany.

It is ranked third amongst European countries in terms of employment, with 89,130 people employed. French businesses, 93% of which are SMEs, operate in a wide range of fields, from e-health to surgical robotics, telemedicine, optical technologies, scar management, medical imaging and many more.

“France, a land of excellence in terms of engineering, research, medicine and entrepreneurship, has all the strengths in hand to become a world leader in MedTech,” says Guirec Le Lous, President of the MedTech in France association, which was created in 2013 and whose ambition is to enable the emergence of French champions in medical technologies. The sector’s growth is supported by the strong internationalization of its players: the French firms in the sector generate €9 billion in export revenues, growing by almost 10% between 2017 and 2019. By way of comparison, the industry’s growth rate is 4% over the same period.

The issues at stake in R&D The sector is characterized by products with a short life cycle and continuous innovation. The proportion of revenue devoted to R&D reached 6% in 2019 and almost 13% of firms operate exclusively in R&D. On the strength of this dynamism, France is ranked fifth worldwide in number of European and international patents filed in the medical devices sector, with 3,750 patents per year.

Firms in the sector have the benefit of a public R&D ecosystem that enjoys international renown: France has a culture and public funding system that is favorable to R&D, with solid upstream innovation support tools, such as the innovation tax credit and the research tax credit, combined with excellent clinical and academic research.

This support was stepped up even further in the wake of the Covid-19 health crisis, as the government took action to strengthen France’s independence in access to medicines and medical devices. The State dedicated nearly €200 million to the development of the healthcare industry to encourage research and production in the sector.

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