A total of 350 of the approximately 1,350 companies in the Swiss medical technology industry (SMTI) were surveyed as part of an industry-wide study by Medical Cluster, Federation Swiss Medical Technology (FASMED) and the Helbling Group. According to a summary of the survey, the medical technology industry has experienced annual growth of around 6 per cent since 2010, which is well above the average growth of the entire Swiss GDP. Last year, the industry generated sales of CHF 14.1 billion, representing 2.2 per cent of the Swiss GDP.
Basel-based companies play a big role in this. Among the ten largest Swiss employers in the medical technology industry are Roche Diagnostics, with 2,370 employees in Switzerland, and Straumann with 736 employees.
Innovation is of particular importance to the medical technology industry for maintaining its strong position. 79 per cent of the manufacturers surveyed named strengthening product innovation an action priority; only optimising distribution scored higher with 90 per cent. The study found that Switzerland has the right environment to foster innovation, with only the US being regarded as more innovation friendly than Switzerland. In the comparison of production locations, Singapore, Ireland and Germany rounded off the top five. And in a comparison of skilled workers, Switzerland came in first.
The companies surveyed indicated that it is necessary to preserve innovative capacity if the industry is to remain competitive in the future. 83 per cent of manufacturers named this as an important challenge, followed by 79 per cent of suppliers and 78 per cent of trade and distribution companies as well as service providers agreed. The ability to innovate is therefore regarded as the most important challenge among three of these four groups, with only suppliers naming quality and documentation requirements as more crucial in 80 per cent of the responses.