As a general rule, the markets for medical devices in the USA operate roughly the same way in Europe. Many of the companies supplying medical technology are multinational entities operating in both areas, both areas are well developed capitalist economies that result in very similar patient populations and clinical practices.
However, that is where the similarities end, since all markets follow actual rather than general rules, and the distinctions between the USA and Europe in their respective markets for, for example, obesity drugs and devices, are surprisingly different from each other and from their comparisons in other medtech markets.
The USA has been known to have a fair number of, shall we say, idiosyncracies that ensue from the FDA’s regulatory process, reimbursement practices (driven by payer type and, to a lesser degree, by state), taxes and cultural differences. On the other hand, Europe also has its quirks, derived as they are from its own regulatory process known as CE Marking (’Conformite Europeenne’ marking) and the very distinct reimbursement, healthcare policy, patient demographics and other characteristics of separate and sovereign states in the European Union.
In the case of obesity, different experiences have already driven the development, introduction and, occasionally, market withdrawals of obesity treatment products in the USA versus Europe. And as obesity comes to represent an ever more pronounced patient population (and all its sequellae) for both markets, these differences will steadily shift in different directions.
To hammer home a likely obvious point, all of these differences result in differences in the size and growth of obesity drug and treatment markets in the USA versus Europe.