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The Role of Medical Devices in Mexico More Relevant Than Ever

By Héctor Orellana - Medtronic
Vice President North Latam


Héctor Orellana By Héctor Orellana | VP North Latam - Fri, 06/02/2023 - 11:00

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The medical device industry is experiencing a moment of opportunity in Mexico. Globally, the sector is seeing changes in marketing and growth expectations, with a focus on addressing conditions in a more agile and replicable way.

In Mexico, the term "medical device" has acquired relevance thanks to the circumstances we have experienced. For example, today the relevance of a mechanical ventilator as life support for a critically ill patient is more understandable. But it has not only been the health emergency; the sector has also been recognized as a strategic industry by the Ministry of Economy, which has been a great advance for the country's economy.

The Mexican Association of Innovative Industries of Medical Devices (AMID) brings together more than 42 global leaders in innovation of medical technology and diagnostic systems, which are characterized by their safe and high-quality effective technology. Today, AMID plays a fundamental role in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and rehabilitation of the health of Mexicans. 

In addition, many of these companies have invested strongly in manufacturing in Mexico, taking advantage of the country's knowledge, skilled labor and installed capacity to produce these high-quality medical devices, which are exported mainly to the US, representing 96.7% of the goods produced. In 2020 alone, exports totaled  US$10.77 billion, positively impacting the national economy.

Of all medical devices produced in Mexico and exported, one-third return as an imported product. That speaks to the large production and export capacity in our country, but also to the low consumption of medical devices. This issue is one of the main pillars in AMID’s agenda since we are the leader in exports in the Americas but hold 42nd place in consumption with respect to the rest of the world. 

In my role as president of AMID and representing the medical device sector in our country, I recognize the importance of the industry for both the health of Mexicans and the country's economy. In addition to the wide variety of medical technology we offer, we are a significant workforce with more than 140,000 direct employees who have the skills and knowledge necessary to manufacture innovative technologies. 

I am pleased to share important achievements we have been pursuing at AMID for the past 12 years, practically since our founding. On March 28, 2023, the term "medical devices" was approved by the Chamber of Deputies and incorporated into the General Health Law. This achievement finally allows us to acquire the necessary identity to be recognized as an independent and significant group for healthcare in our country, differentiating ourselves from medicines and health supplies. In addition, this allows us to establish a reference framework that will allow criminal sanctions for the illegal selling of "medical devices."

Here are some other great achievements for AMID in recent months, which allow us to continue to stand out as a fundamental sector for Mexico: 

  • At the end of 2022, we put our sector in the spotlight of the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI), presenting a sectoral report highlighting the importance of medical devices in our country. The data reveals that exports have been higher than imports during the last 10 years, demonstrating double-digit growth for the industry during this same period. In 2020, there was US$10.77 billion in exports, while  imports exceeded US$5.24 billion.

  • Regulation is a key issue for the medical device industry. AMID is  pleased that COFEPRIS is showing particular interest in our sector. In fact, 2023 has been heralded as the year of medical devices, signifying an even greater commitment from the authorities to support our industry. We continue to work closely with COFEPRIS to achieve a more agile regulatory process that allows the speed of innovation required by medical technology and thus guarantee the timely registration of products, which continues to be our main challenge for the local adoption of new technology.

  • In terms of manufacturing and the implementation of NOM 241, we continue to work with the authorities to achieve greater clarity on the aspects that this standard can cover. The latter is fundamental to provide  certainty regarding the viability of continuing to increase the manufacturing capacities of our sector with a focus on the export of materials. Regulatory certainty required the collaboration of important players like INDEX, Canifarma, Advamed and, especially, the commitment shown by COFEPRIS throughout the process.

  • Finally, as I mentioned before, the medical device industry has been recognized by the Ministry of Economy for its competitiveness and for its important contribution to the country's economic growth. This recognition reflects the relevance of medical technology in Mexico and the importance of continuing to promote its development.

Although we have made steady progress, at AMID, we are convinced that we still have many objectives to meet and we are working daily on six main areas to demonstrate our relevance regarding innovation, the economy and the health of Mexicans: 

  1. Maintain communication and interaction with the country’s healthcare, regulatory and economic authorities, since they are fundamental interlocutors in the development of our industry.

  2. Contribute to the dignified care of patients, through the necessary consumption of technology and the efficient incorporation into health systems.

  3. Continue the promotion and adoption of innovative technologies in the different health ecosystems, both in the public and private sectors of the country.

  4. Maintain the role of the Mexican association of reference for innovative medical devices, through the national and international alliances  that we already have and with some other strategic alliances that reinforce the representativeness of the sector.

  5. Promote care after diagnosis through medical devices, in order to reduce out-of-pocket spending on health by the Mexican population

  6. Reinforce the strategy to combat the illegal market for medical devices through registrations as well as monitoring import and regulatory distribution channels.

We have good momentum as an industry, and it’s also beneficial to improve the performance of the healthcare ecosystem. Of course, we trust in the potential to integrate a greater volume of manufacturing due to the current global nearshoring phenomenon.

Today, the role of medical devices in health has become more relevant than ever after the pandemic. The industry in Mexico has gained the understanding and appreciation we had pursued for many years, even from those who are not part of it.

We recognize the great opportunity represented by the manufacturing of medical devices in our country and we will continue to work toward that. At AMID, we are aware of this challenge and we are building relationships that allow us to consolidate our position in the market and establish strong relationships for the benefit of patients. 

Photo by:   Héctor Orellana

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