About the Industry

Medical Technology Industry in Australia

The term medical technology is used to describe a broad range of products used in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of disease and disability, such as medical devices, including in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs), imaging equipment and dental equipment.

  • A medical device is any instrument, apparatus, appliance, material or article which, without chemical action within or on the body, can diagnose, prevent, or treat a disease or other condition. Examples range from bandages, syringes and disposable gloves to pacemakers, surgical instruments, and hip and knee prostheses.
  • IVDs are medical devices used to perform diagnostic tests on human specimens in vitro (outside the human body), for the purpose of diagnosing or monitoring a disease or other condition. Examples include home pregnancy test kits, blood glucose monitoring devices, and IVD systems used in the diagnosis of genetic diseases.
  • Imaging equipment is used to capture medical images of patients for the purpose of diagnosing a disease or other condition. Examples include radiography (x-ray), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Dental equipment includes products such as dentistry tools, alloys and resins that are used by dentists and allied oral healthcare professionals, as well as over-the-counter products used by consumers such as floss and brushes.

The majority of medical technologies are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia as medical devices. Medical technologies which are not regulated by the TGA as medical devices are generally subject to Australian competition and consumer legislation.

There are a range of business types that make up the medical technology industry:

Exporter of medical technology

A company that exports medical technology that is either manufactured in Australia, or manufactured overseas, imported to Australia, then exported.

Importer of medical technology as subsidiary of multinational company 

An importer of medical technology where the Australian company is a subsidiary of the same multinational company. Usually, most of the products sold will be from the parent company.

Third party independent importer of medical technology

An importer of medical technology that is not a subsidiary of a multinational company and is usually Australian owned. Often, the products sold will come from several different suppliers.

Manufacturer of medical technology in Australia

A manufacturer of medical technology in Australia can be either an Australian owned company or a subsidiary of a multinational company.

Supplier of medical technology manufactured in Australia

A manufacturer of medical technology in Australia (as described above), who also supplies their products to Australia. This differentiates from companies that manufacture for export only.

Research & Development conducted primarily in Australia

Research and development (R&D) is conducted primarily in Australia. Some R&D may take place overseas, but the majority takes place in Australia.

Primary and Secondary Industries

Given the diversity in the range of medical technologies in Australia, it is not surprising that the settings they are used in are also diverse: primary healthcare settings (where patients first interact with the healthcare system), secondary healthcare settings (where patients are referred following contact with a primary care provider) and various community care settings such as aged care facilities.

Primary healthcare settings include GP surgeries, dental surgeries, pharmacies, physiotherapy clinics and optometrist practices. Secondary healthcare settings include public and private hospitals and specialist healthcare providers such as cardiologists, orthopaedic surgeons and ophthalmologists.