Medical Device SectorThe medical device sector continues to be a vibrant growth sector and a cornerstone of the Irish economy. Circa 160 companies are involved in developing, manufacturing and marketing a diverse range of products and services from disposable plastic and wound care products to precision metal implants including pacemakers to microelectronic devices, orthopaedic implants, diagnostics, contact lenses and stents.There are currently over 160 medical technology companies in Ireland, exporting €6.8b worth of product annually and employing 24,000 people - the highest number of people working in the industry in any country in Europe, per head of population.
Exports of medical devices and diagnostics products now represent 8% of Ireland's total merchandise exports; and growth prospects for the industry globally remain good. Many of the world's top medical technology companies have invested significantly in Ireland and a number of exciting, research-based, indigenous companies are emerging and competing internationally. Over 90 of the companies in the sector are indigenous. The Irish government has identified the medical technology sector as one of the key drivers of industrial growth for the future and provides a wide range of supports to encourage and foster this growth. The medical technology industry in Ireland is changing from being prominently manufacturing to being more complex and driven by R&D. It now involves intensive collaboration between a broad range of partners, including research institutions, clinicians, manufacturing companies and government agencies. Ireland is well placed to capitalise on the growing global market for medical technology products and services. The challenge is to continue to develop and integrate the broad range of strategic competencies and support systems that will enable this island to compete as a mature, high value added economy, with innovation at its core.