Healthcare expenditures in Argentina traditionally account for approximately 9 to 10 percent of GDP, among the highest in the region. The Argentine medical equipment and device market is dominated by imports, which account for around 65-80 percent of the total market. According to an industry survey*, the import market of medical products amounted to approximately $1.06 billion in 2022.
Imports grew consistently after COVID and may continue to grow at a slower pace in 2023, given macroeconomic concerns such as high inflation affecting purchasing power, foreign exchange controls that limit access to foreign currency for payments, challenges or delays in obtaining import permits, and price distortions due to a devaluated currency.
The United States is traditionally a leading supplier of imported medical products, with a 17 percent import market share (in 2022) second to China, which achieved a 24 percent market share. However, the U.S. leads the market share in high-end technology products, while China, in standard products.
The Argentine government (GOA) extended the Sanitary Emergency status until December 31, 2023, and it is expected to be extended in 2024. Under this status, the GOA provided waiver of import duties for some products related to combatting the pandemic, among other exemptions.
Most imports are concentrated in equipment and devices, representing about 51 percent of medical product imports, but also specialized catheters, cannulas, patient aids, orthopedic implants, and dental products.
Additional opportunities for U.S. exports continue to be e-health technologies and middle- to high-end technology products, such as electro-diagnostic equipment and other specialized medical equipment and devices that do not compete with locally manufactured ones.
There may also be potential in the market for stents, cardiac valves, pacemakers, and other specialized disposables.
Among these products, the largest exports from the United States in past years were in these HS code categories: 9018.90.99.190, 9018.90.99.990, and 9018.39.29.900.
The Argentine government, with international loans from multilateral development banks, will continue to provide funding to support government programs particularly concentrated on primary care, maternal care, communicable and immuno preventable diseases, and healthcare infrastructure under a national universal healthcare coverage plan. This plan emphasizes efficiency, accessibility, and modernization through e-health technologies.
Medical products and technology developed and produced in the United States are highly regarded in Argentina. This is particularly relevant for U.S. exporters that offer high quality products at competitive prices. In this competitive market, much of the demand for mass-market technologies is already being met.
However, budget constraints of both the public and private sectors coupled with the country’s macroeconomic scenario, result in product export potential being determined on a case-by-case basis.
All imports of medical products need to be carried out by a registered medical equipment importer, with the Argentine food, drug, and medical equipment regulatory agency, ANMAT, the Argentine equivalent of the FDA.
* Source: Argentine Chamber of Medical Technology - CADIEM (Spanish)
For additional information on this industry, including market analysis, trade events, contacts, and the products and services that the U.S. Commercial Service can provide to help you succeed in the Argentine market, please contact our Healthcare Industry Specialist Liliana Paz