Australia is often viewed as one of the most opportune markets in the Asia-Pac region, based on purchasing power, volumes, and risk evaluations. It has a well-established and connected healthcare market, with importers from all over the world, and the highest per capita expenditure on HC in the Asia-Pac region. It is quick and keen to adopt newly emerged technologies and continuously works on its regulatory frameworks accordingly to fast-track new and life-saving medtech.
Introduction to the healthcare and medtech market
It is estimated that Australia houses the 13th largest HC market in the world.
For 2016, the total market value of medical devices, including small devices, capital equipment, diagnostics and consumables, is estimated around €9.1 bn. Pharmaceutical consumption totaled a value of €18.5 bn.
For the vast majority of public hospital, medtech and pharmaceutical needs are procured through GPOs at regional level. 80% of all medtech used in Australia is imported.
Quality and reputation are key to successful marketing and sales in Australia, particularly for medical devices and diagnostic equipment.
The private sector is growing promisingly, and works closely together with the public sector, indicative of a stable and sustainable market and healthcare model.
The largest concentrations of private and public hospitals are found in New South Wales (226), Queensland (170) and Victoria (150 hospitals), counting acute and non-acute hospitals.
Snapshot of the Australian government and healthcare organization
Australia is divided into 6 states, and 10 territories beyond the state boundaries, defined as being unclaimed by any state. Most territories are directly managed by the federal government (excepting 2 territories, who have obtained limited rights of self-government). Each state has a governor, a state administration and a state parliament. States have the authority to pass laws unrelated to the Commonwealth Constitution.
Centralized Australian healthcare authorities compile lists of approved medtech and pharma reimbursed products. Meanwhile, at state level, each state has a designated healthcare service body, that also compiles a product category list reflecting the demands of their region. The states’ HC authorities then negotiate contracts with suppliers in order to supply their regional hospitals.
The public and private sector are closely intertwined and interdependent, where privately insured patients can seek public sector care, and HC workers are allowed to work in both sectors simultaneously. Subscribing to private insurance is also economically stimulated by the national HC authorities.
In terms of HC financing, the largest chunks come via the Commonwealth (40%), followed by the state/territory funds (26%), and OOP payments (20%). Taxation and Medicare contributions are key sourcing mechanisms.
High per capita spending on healthcare
Healthcare expenditure in Australia was around €107.6 bn in 2016, equal to 9.5% of GDP. 66.2% of the overall healthcare costs are financed publicly, and 33.8% stems from private sources.
The bubble graph below shows select nations’ per capita expenditures (on the vertical axis), and expenditure as a percentage of GDP (horizontal axis) in relation to overall expenditures (size of the bubble).
In the graph, Germany stands out substantially, having the highest share of their GDP spent on HC and the largest expenditure overall. Australia spends a similar per capita amount on HC as Germany does.
However, Australia has a slightly lower share of GDP spent on HC in comparison to the other selected countries. Interesting to note, Australia has a population around 5.4 m larger than the Netherlands, but spends a good €30 m more on HC.
What is driving and influencing the Australian healthcare and medtech markets?
- There is a nationwide interest in faster, novel, qualitative, and efficient medtech and pharma to meet patient demands and ease budget stresses.
- Public HC reforms are driving up state-financing for technological infrastructure.
- Consumer/patient accessibility to various medtech and illness treatments/information (via online means mostly) is increasing their demands and consumer expectations.
- Accelerated market authorization procedures will speed up market accessibility for approved products.
- Using existing and verified overseas regulatory approvals will help avoid duplicate work/evaluations performed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia.
- Bolstering post-market monitoring is improving patient and clinicians’ safety; boosting the safety, efficacy and quality standards for consumers.
- Greater transparency, in regulatory processes and data-gathering, will serve post-market surveillance.
- Australia is a growing market for cloud solutions and services, and digital hospitals will be the mainstay of Australia’s future hospitals.
- Pharma and medical device companies are also moving toward data driven models and leveraging IT for business model transformation. Together, all this will create the marketplace for health data, within the constraints of current data security regulations.
- Based on these trends, key technology trends for healthcare in Australia have been the digitalisation and decentralisation of healthcare.
For further quantitative and qualitative information on the Australian healthcare system and the macroeconomic climate, please look into our Business intelligence platform or order the Australian Healthcare Scan incl. Surgical Procedures Volumes (all specialisms) – product license containing volumes for over 1000 surgical procedures in 13 specialisms.
Other licenses to our business intelligence platform depending on your needs are also available.
About Laura Weynants
Performs primary and secondary market research to create country reports at TforG. Interviews KOLs and medical sector professionals to build on TforG’s healthcare market expertise and competence networks. Complementing five years of sustainability policy and CSR communication, she now focuses on grasping key medical market trends, structures and opportunities in medical sectors worldwide. Coming from an international background of living in Germany, Spain, USA, UK and Belgium, she has gained a keen insight in international organizations and language skills to perform first hand investigations. She graduated from Sussex University Brighton, UK with a BA English Literature and Sociology and achieved a Master Degree in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility in EOI Business School in Madrid, Spain.