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Medical Device Sector, 2008

U.S. Market Overview

The U.S. medical device sector includes surgical and medical instruments; orthopedic, prosthetic and surgical appliances and supplies; dental equipment and supplies; x-ray apparatus, tubes and related irradiation apparatus; electromedical and electrotherapy apparatus; and ophthalmic equipment. Industry coverage also includes in-vitro (i.e. not taken internally) diagnostic (IVD) substances.

The U.S. medical device industry is known for producing high quality devices using advanced technology resulting from heavy investment in research and development (R&D). There are approximately 8,500 medical device firms in the United States, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). More than 80 percent of medical device companies have fewer than 50 employees, and many (most notably innovative start-ups) have little or no sales revenue.

In 2006, annual U.S. industry production in this sector exceeded $90 billion, and in recent years has experienced approximately 6 percent annual growth. The industry is a source of high-paying American jobs: medical device company workers earn 49 percent more than private sector employees overall and 18 percent more than general manufacturing workers. In 2006, the medical device industry employed more than 350,000 people in the United States, earning an average wage of approximately $70,000. In addition, the United States holds a competitive advantage in the complementary industries on which the medical device industry relies, namely microelectronics, telecommunications, instrumentation, biotechnology, software development, etc.

R&D investment in this sector more than doubled during the 1990s, and has remained more than twice the average for U.S. manufacturers overall. Medical device manufacturers also benefit from a new generation of materials, manufacturing processes, and technology, such as nanotechnology and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). Since the industry is fueled by innovation and the ongoing quest for better ways of treating or diagnosing medical problems, the future of this sector looks very bright.