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Spotlight on Argentina

Gustavo Guitelman: Argentina has some manufacturers of medical devices (mostly joint implants), and hence the market is segmented between “national” and “imported” products. Prices differ substantially. While social security purchases a majority of homemade national products, imported products occupy a relatively small percentage of sales.

Notwithstanding, due to the current exchange rate (Argentine Peso is overvalued), imported products are far more profitable than products made in Argentina. Almost every big player is present in the Argentinian market, so the big challenge is to find “space” in which to get market share.

On the other hand, the market is quite big and it is said that surgeries-per-inhabitant are far greater than other Latin American markets.


Current headwinds affecting U.S. orthopaedic market performance include longer (and more intense) regulatory clearance processes, growing price pressure from hospitals, lower procedure rates in hip, knee and spine, etc. How does the U.S. market situation impact Argentina? How has it affected your business?

Bardelli: Victhor Implantes has not marketed its products in the U.S. as of yet, thus the U.S. market situation does not affect us—or the Argentine market in general—directly. Potentially, a slowdown in the U.S. market could imply that the leading global orthopaedic companies could divert some of their resources from the U.S. and reinvest more aggressively in emerging markets. That would increase competitive pressures across the Argentine orthopaedic industry, but the price advantages enjoyed by top local producers should help mitigate these increases in competition.

Guitelman: As manufacturers, we have not entered the U.S. market, but we are planning to do so during 2013. We are affected in many Latin American markets because U.S. manufacturers are cutting their selling prices almost in every market, thus reducing margins and making competition strong.


What resources have you found to be reliable for Argentina-specific orthopaedic market data, hospital/patient data, implant pricing or any other information that you require to plan for business development?

Bardelli: There is a very limited supply of publicly-available, reliable resources, databases and statistics that Argentine orthopaedic companies can rely on to plan their business development activities, particularly over longer time frames. Macroeconomic conditions and government monetary/exchange rate policies are major drivers—at times positive and at times negative— which affect strategic planning. Victhor Implantes relies on its own proprietary statistics, metrics and modeling capabilities, developed over the last ten years, to plan business development. Volatile market conditions prevalent in Argentina and other emerging markets result in an added degree of uncertainty, which we have learned how to cope with over the different stages of the economic cycle.

Guitelman: It is very difficult to find statistical data. The best source to get an idea on pricing would be to see social security tenders, Comprehensive Medical Attention Program (PAMI).


Keep reading!

The spotlight on South America will continue in the March issue of BONEZONE. In the interim, here are extra resources to help you understand Argentina's market. 

Entering the Argentinian Market

Medical device approval in Argentina, Colombia and Costa Rica





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