Improving healthcare for all

France, a major player in the field of medical devices

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

14 Jun 2021

With 32,000 companies specialising 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 companies, generating annual turnover of €30 billion, France is Europe’s second-largest medical technologies market, behind Germany. It ranks third amongst European countries in terms of employment, with 89,130 people employed. French companies, 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 internationalisation of its players: the French companies in the sector generate a turnover of €9 billion from export, 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 characterised by products with a short life cycle and continuous innovation. The proportion of turnover devoted to R&D reached 6% in 2019 and almost 13% of companies operate exclusively in R&D. 

On the strength of this dynamism, France ranks fifth worldwide in number of European and international patents filed in the medical devices sector, with 3,750 patents per year. Companies 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 favourable to R&D, with, in particular, solid upstream innovation support tools, such as the Innovation Tax Credit (CII) and the Research Tax Credit (CIR), 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. To wit, the State dedicated nearly €200 million to the development of the healthcare industry to encourage research and production in the sector.

1. Source: MedTech Europe – The European Medical Technology Industry in figures 2020

 2. Source: MedTech Europe – The European Medical Technology Industry in figures 2020

3. Source: Snitem “Panorama et analyse qualitative de la filière industrielles des dispositifs médicaux”, [Overview and qualitative analysis of the medical device industry] 2019

 4. French Healthcare and Choose France “Medical devices”, 2020

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