Austria - Country Commercial Guide
Medical Devices

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-08-21


Austria’s healthcare system is considered one of the best in Europe, providing nearly universal access and excellent outcomes. Infant mortality is low (2.7/1,000), and life expectancy is high (78.8 for men and 83.8 for women). Due largely to the Covid crisis, overall healthcare spending in Austria rose sharply in 2021, to $61.5 billion (12.9% of GDP), up from $55 billion and 12.3% of GDP in 2020. That spending is overwhelmingly carried by the public sector, which covered 78.6% of the total in 2021. Spending on medical devices also climbed markedly during the Covid pandemic and is expected to reach $3.62 billion in 2022.

Austrian medical equipment imports are valued at $2.53 billion in 2020 (the last year for which figures are available), with a steep upward trend (in line with total spending) expected as newer statistics become available. Germany supplies around 33.5% of Austria’s medical technology, followed by the Netherlands, Brussels, China, Switzerland, South Korea and Japan. U.S. exports, previously second in value only to those from Germany, have experienced a significant decline from 15% to less than 3% of Austria’s import market between 2019 and 2020. Reasons for the decline could include: 1) the Covid-related export ban on certain medical equipment leaving the United States, 2) difficulties stemming from the new CE certification regime, 3) supply chain and transportation issues related to Covid-19, and 4) non-emergency hospital treatments being postponed due to Covid-19 in 2020.

Table: Medical Devices Market Size, million USD





2022 (est)

Total Market Size





Total Exports





Total Imports



2,783 (est)


Imports from the United States



111 (est)


Local Production (est)





(Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)
Units: USD million / Exchange Rate 2021 1€ = $1.18
Source:; Austria Medical Devices Report Q3 2022; Statistik Austria; LISA Life Science Report Austria 2021; U.S. Customs Data. Estimates are based on growth rates and other factors. Because some imported products are re-exported, the total market size does not equal imports minus exports plus local production in this chart.

Market Drivers and Constraints: Austria’s medical device market is driven by three main factors: 1) an aging population and the accompanying increasing burden of disease; 2) high smoking and alcohol consumption rates paired with a sedentary lifestyle that increases the risk of cancer, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes; and 3) well-established and high-quality universal health coverage that can finance the population’s health needs. The three key constraints for U.S. exports are 1) bottlenecks in CE certification caused by difficulties with the implementation of the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) / In-Vitro Diagnostic Regulation (IVDR) of 2017; 2) supply chain and shipping disruptions following the Covid crisis, and 3) the modest size of the population and natural financial constraints of a universal social insurance system.

Healthcare System: Austria has a statutory national health insurance program that covers 99% of the population through mandatory employer and employee contributions. Five non-competitive national carriers cover all Austrians based on profession and work status. All government employees, for example, pay into and are covered by the same national carrier. In addition to the mandatory public healthcare system, around 30% of the population uses supplemental private insurance. For those with additional insurance and those willing to pay out of pocket, a growing network of private physicians and clinics offer more flexible opening hours, shorter wait times, and well-known specialists. They also provide services not covered by statutory public insurance. Private providers may be partially reimbursed by public insurance depending upon the procedure.

In-patient treatment accounted for around 32% of Austrian healthcare spending in 2021. With its 271 hospitals and 62,873 available beds, Austria has one of the highest hospital bed/population ratios in the world. Around 64% of hospital beds are in general hospitals, with 26% in specialized clinics and rehabilitation centers, and 7% in sanatoriums or long-term care facilities. Experts have argued for decades that the high number of hospital beds and the cost of in-patient care needed to be slashed; however, the Covid pandemic of 2020 and 2021 clearly demonstrated the value of this reserve capacity. Now, rather than focusing on bed reduction, the focus has shifted to more efficiently managing latent capacities.

Outpatient care is the second-largest category of healthcare spending, accounting for 26% in 2021. Examinations, tests, and prescription medications deemed necessary by an insurance carrier are generally covered with little or no co-payment. The contract each physician has with a statutory insurance carrier determines which procedures will be reimbursed. More significant co-pays are charged for higher-end dental and vision care, physical therapy, mental health treatment, and home health aides. Cosmetic procedures and preventive treatments are generally not covered by public insurance.  

The in-patient and out-patient sectors are financially and administratively independent, each with its own structures and decision-makers. Out-patient services are financed and controlled by the social insurance carriers, who establish contracts with physicians, negotiate prices with pharmaceutical and health aid providers, and reimburse pharmacies. Hospital-based treatment is provided at public and private facilities and financed through a complex system of payments and reimbursements that is shared by regional governments (funded through federal taxes), social insurance carriers, and private insurance providers. Patient care is administered according to an Austrian disease-related group (DRG)  system, which establishes the reimbursement price and standard of care for various procedures. The movement of patients between these two systems lacks continuity and is a major reason for innovation delays. One example of this pattern of obstruction is the stalled implementation of remote disease- monitoring programs. These technologies have been proven to reduce the need for hospitalization and improve patient well-being, but would require financing from the outpatient sector, which has no incentive to invest.

The third- largest portion of healthcare spending is for pharmaceuticals and health aides, which comprises  around 15% of the total. Long-term care accounts for just under 9% of total healthcare spending and is partly funded through a separate budget of payments to patients and caregivers according to disability grades.

Business Trends:

Approximately 550 companies in Austria produce or sell medical technologies, of which 171 are manufacturers, and 383 are distributor or service companies. Austria’s medical manufacturers include a handful of large national companies with global operations such as MedEl (cochlear implants), Greiner Bio One (blood collection, bioscience, and diagnostics), Semperit (surgical and examination gloves), and subsidiaries of multinational corporations such as GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthineers, as well as Austrian SMEs and dynamic healthcare tech start-ups. A directory of Life science companies active in Austria is listed in the Life Science Directory.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Minimally invasive surgery, including computer-aided surgical products and equipment
  • Health IT and digital health, especially telehealth, patient interface solutions, remote monitoring, disease management, and interoperability solutions
  • Dental devices and consumables
  • Products and devices for the diagnosis and treatment of the diseases of aging, especially screening and diagnostic technologies, cardiovascular diagnosis and treatment, bone health, oncology, orthopedics, dementia care, mobility solutions, artificial joints, etc.
  • Consumables are another category poised to see increased demand in 2021 as patients undergo treatments that were postponed during the pandemic.


Digitalization: The Covid-19 pandemic showcased the advantages of digital health solutions, particularly telemedicine and remote monitoring, as well as tracking, prescription, and patient record apps. As the healthcare system sets its objectives for a post-Covid system, digitalization is expected to play an important role.

Primary Care Centers: The Austrian government has made the expansion of primary care centers an essential element of  its healthcare investment plan. Incentives are offered with a value up to half of the total investment to practice groups who agree to open a multi-physician center that complies with certain rules. The stated aim is to open 70 new centers across Austria between January 2021 and 2026.

Sustainability: Reducing waste and improving efficiency are increasingly important as administrators work to reduce the high cost of healthcare and make it more attractive as a career option.

Adapting to Demographic Shifts: Austria’s aging population will spur a growing demand for age-related care and equipment, including dental instruments, diagnostic technologies, cardiovascular monitoring, mobility solutions, and artificial joints, among others.

Vienna’s General Hospital: The City of Vienna is planning to spend $1.6 billion between 2020 and 2030 to modernize Vienna’s most important teaching hospital, one of the largest in Europe.


U.S. Commercial Service – Austria, Healthcare Specialist – Marta Haustein