A new report shows that Ireland’s medical technology sector employs over 32,000 people, hosts 18 of the 25 largest medtech companies in the world, and has €12.6 billion worth of exports annually, making Ireland the fifth largest exporter in Europe.
Ireland develops some of the most sophisticated products in the industry, with particular strengths in high value manufacturing and R&D. Half of all medtech companies in Ireland now have a dedicated R&D function. There will be approximately €27 billion spent on R&D by medtech companies in 2018 and this figure will grow in subsequent years as companies continue to integrate new technologies into their existing products and develop new products. There are over 450 medtech companies in Ireland and 60% of these are indigenous SMEs. The global medtech market was worth an estimated €422 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach €455 billion by 2020, this presents the Irish Medtech sector with an excellent opportunity to grow. Ireland continues to receive major international investments and has generated continuous employment growth in recent years.
Collins McNicholas believes the outlook for the medical device industry in Ireland to be very positive and anticipates robust growth in the years ahead as the industry takes advantage of expanding global demand for medical technologies. Critical to Ireland’s position will be its ability to provide a sufficient number of qualified professionals for the industry. Over 2,000 jobs have been created in the medical technology sector since 2014 and another 4,000 jobs are expected to be created by 2020. Through a combination of increased graduate output, a greater number of retraining and apprenticeship programmes, and the judicious sourcing of international talent, Ireland should be able to provide the quantity and calibre of talent that the industry needs to thrive.
Most of the biggest companies in the medical device industry have a presence in Ireland. Companies such as Abbott, Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, Hollister, Baxter, Boston Scientific and Stryker all have major operations in the country. Indigenous companies are also important contributors to the Irish medical device sector. Creganna, Trulife, Vistamed and Steripack are just a few of the Irish medtech companies exporting their products globally.
Ireland produces a wide range of medical device products. Products manufactured in Ireland include pacemakers, stents, pregnancy tests, HIV tests, orthopaedic hips and knees, ventilators, and contact lenses. In 2014 and 2015, medical technology companies invested €960 million in Ireland. This has resulted in strong job growth in the sector over the previous three years. Investment has occurred in several regions and the type of employment created includes high value manufacturing roles, support services and R&D.
R&D is growing in importance in the Irish Medical Device sector; Medtronic, Cook Medical, SMT, Stryker and DePuy Synthes all announced investments in new R&D and Innovation Centres in the last 3 years. Edwards Lifesciences recent announcement of its planned €80 million investment in the Midwest region demonstrates Ireland’s continued ability to attract significant international investment. It also highlights the depth of engineering talent that is present across the country. The availability of this talent will be a key factor in acquiring more investment in the increasingly competitive global medtech sector.
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