Health,  Tech

Why Mexico Wins: Decoding the Boom in Medical Device Exports

When it comes to the exportation of medical devices abroad, Mexico undoubtedly emerges as the nation harboring the most profound research potential. As the preeminent purveyor of medical devices to the United States, Mexico assumes a pivotal role in the global landscape of the medical device industry.

According to the latest data, Mexico dispatched more than $16 billion worth of medical devices to the United States in 2021. Concurrently, Mexico has ascended to the position of the eighth largest exporter of medical devices globally, with its sustained progression and innovation within the realm of medical devices captivating attention. An exhaustive exploration of Mexico’s ventures in medical device exports may serve as a wellspring of inspiration.

01 Preeminent Exporter of Medical Devices to the United States!

In an endeavor to expedite the delivery of medical apparatus, the importation of medical equipment into the United States has transitioned from predominantly originating in Asia to emanating from Mexico.

The domain of medical devices has burgeoned into one of Mexico’s swiftest burgeoning manufacturing sectors, commanding an escalating portion of the industry.

Presently, Mexico stands as the eighth largest contributor of medical devices worldwide and the principal exporter of such devices to the United States.

As the medical device arena becomes increasingly competitive, with burgeoning entries from technology and consumer goods enterprises into the healthcare domain, manufacturers aspire not only to enhance efficiency but also to curtail costs without compromising the quality of these indispensable medical devices. Nearshoring, burgeoning as a nexus for medical device manufacturing in Mexico, offers cost-saving advantages to American enterprises.

02 Epicenter of the World’s Largest Medical Device Manufacturer!

It is discerned that San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, California, emerge as pivotal hubs within the United States’ life sciences sphere. Solely in San Diego, more than 80 medical research firms and over 1,000 life sciences establishments find residence. This thriving market lies just a half-hour drive from Tijuana, Mexico. Consequently, numerous U.S. firms prioritize research and development within U.S. borders and subsequently manufacture medical equipment in proximity to Mexico.

As the manufacturing of medical devices gains momentum in Mexico, this activity proliferates southward into various regions. To circumvent the relatively exorbitant costs prevalent in border regions, including cities such as Tijuana, the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Jalisco, Sonora, and Tamaulipas witness burgeoning growth in medical device manufacturing.

Particularly, the state of Sonora has emerged as a significant contender in this domain. Presently, 26 medical device manufacturers operate within the state, employing a cumulative workforce exceeding 17,240 individuals. Many of these enterprises gravitate toward Sonora due to its advanced border crossings, extensive transportation network, maritime ports, and proximity to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, one of the globe’s busiest commercial airports.

Moreover, the triumvirate cities of Hermosillo, Guaymas, and Empalme each offer distinctive advantages to medical device manufacturers. Preeminent medical device manufacturers operate within Sonora, fabricating an array of products encompassing cardiovascular treatments, catheter systems, dental supplies, endoscopic apparatus, hospital surgical carts, injection equipment, surgical instruments, and more. Owing to its unique demographic composition, Mazatlán has also piqued interest in the realm of medical device manufacturing. The city’s youthful populace and abundant educational and technical training resources are perceived as enduring stabilizing factors for the workforce.

Mexico emerges as a nucleus for major stakeholders in the medical device industry, boasting a blend of seasoned industry veterans and burgeoning innovators. The presence of these manufacturers in Mexico facilitates seamless access to the expansive U.S. market. Herein lie some of the illustrious medical device manufacturers operating within Mexico:

Abbott: The paramount medical device manufacturer globally maintains operations in Mexico City.
Medtronic: Pioneering operations in Mexico since the 1970s.
Tijuana Plant: The corporation’s second-largest assembly facility employs approximately 4,000 personnel and specializes in the assembly of covered stents, catheters, and human heart valve replacements.
Sonora Plant: Renowned for the production of a myriad of FDA and ISO 13485 certified medical products.
Johnson & Johnson: Engrained within the Mexican market since 1936, offering a vast array of products ranging from orthopedics to sports medicine through its medical devices and diagnostics divisions.
Fresenius Medical Care: Manufactures dialysis solutions across facilities in Guadalajara and Tijuana.
Stryker: Specializes in the fabrication of protective surgical equipment in Mexico City and Tijuana.
Boston Scientific: Produces an assortment of solutions, including defibrillators, stents, and slings, at its Mexico City facility.
GE Healthcare: Situated in Apodaca, a suburb of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, where it manufactures medical equipment.
Welch Allyn (a Hill-Rom subsidiary): Ranks among the largest medical enterprises in Tijuana with branches dispersed throughout Mexico, manufacturing diagnostic equipment, patient monitoring systems, and vital signs apparatus.

Mexico hosts a plethora of medical device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), buoyed by the presence of indigenous suppliers fabricating crucial electronics and other components. This network of local suppliers not only diminishes shipping durations but also enhances supply chain transparency, presenting lucrative prospects for second- and third-tier suppliers keen on investing in Mexico.

03 Why Mexico?

The genesis and evolution of medical device production and manufacturing in Mexico trace back to the early 20th century. Initially, Mexico’s indigenous medical device firms primarily engendered rudimentary medical apparatus and consumables to meet domestic requisites. Over time, Mexico’s medical device sector burgeoned and matured.

Since the 1980s, the Mexican government has accorded precedence to fostering the medical device industry and has instituted an array of governmental measures to stimulate its growth. The Mexican government furnishes support in the form of fiscal incentives, R&D funding, training avenues, and legal frameworks to allure investment and foster business ingenuity and progression.

In 1994, Mexico ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) alongside the United States and Canada, thereby fostering interconnection between the Mexican medical device industry and the North American market. Mexican medical device enterprises commenced expanding their export endeavors and establishing business liaisons with counterparts in North America.

The 2000s witnessed precipitous growth within the Mexican medical device industry. The government perpetuates its augmentation of support for the sector, fostering technological innovation and the international competitiveness of enterprises. Mexican medical device firms have commenced diversifying into myriad domains, encompassing the R&D and manufacturing of upscale medical equipment and devices.

In 2012, Mexico established the Mexican Medical Device Industry Association to foster cooperation and development within the medical device sector. The association galvanizes enterprises through seminars, symposiums, and training initiatives to foster exchanges and collaboration.

Following years of evolution, Mexico’s medical device industry has evolved into a pivotal economic cornerstone. It is posited that the principal impetuses behind the rapid growth of Mexico’s medical device industry and its triumphant overseas expansion are as follows:

Geographical Proximity: Mexico’s strategic geographical positioning renders it an optimal locale for medical device enterprises fixated on cost-effectiveness and abbreviated shipping lead times. The nation’s proximity to the United States and well-established shipping routes substantially diminish logistics expenses and shorten time-to-market.
Manufacturing Infrastructure: Mexico accords paramount importance to fortifying manufacturing infrastructure, laying a robust foundation for the medical device manufacturing industry. The establishment of state-of-the-art

facilities, professional training centers, and a conducive regulatory framework has markedly catalyzed industry growth.
Highly Skilled Workforce: Renowned for their adeptness in meticulously crafting the diminutive yet pivotal components constituting myriad medical devices, Mexico’s labor force excels, oftentimes crafting these components by hand. This skilled workforce adeptly undertakes highly intricate manufacturing tasks at competitive rates, outpacing counterparts in the United States and numerous other nations.
Cost-Efficiency: Mexico’s competitive labor rates and meager operating costs vis-à-vis many other nations furnish enterprises with a cost-effective manufacturing nucleus.
Governmental Support and Regulations: Mexican governmental policies and regulations engender an enabling milieu for a burgeoning medical device manufacturing industry. Notably, governmental initiatives to promote global partnerships and entice foreign investment have significantly contributed to industry growth.

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