China, India and Brazil are gaining ground in their capacity to produce the latest in medical technology innovation and may surpass developed countries over the next decade.

That is the verdict of a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which claims that growth in these emerging market economies "is attracting the focus of the world’s innovation resources and activity". Furthermore, "they are taking the lead in developing a new generation of small, faster, more affordable medical devices."

The report is based on the findings of the PwC Medical Technology Innovation Scorecard, which looked at the capacity of nine countries to adapt to the changing nature of innovation: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, the UK and the USA. The analysis, which looks at the past five years and projecting change over the next decade to 2020, scores each country on a scale of 1 to 9.

Unsurprisingly, the USA, with a score of 7.1, tops the table "because of decades of innovation dominance" and the fact that it "continues to show the greatest capacity for medical technology innovation. The U.S. currently has a total score of 7.1.

The scores of the the UK, Germany, Japan and France "fall within a tight band of 4.8 to 5.4", and among the developed countries, Germany and the UK demonstrated the strongest support for innovation and Japan the weakest. Israel ranks near the level of the European nations, while China, "with its powerful economic growth engine", scored 3.4. India and Brazil each scored 2.7.

PwC says that the USA is expected to continue to lead in medical technology innovation "but also will lose ground to other countries during the next decade". Declines are also projected for Japan, Israel, France, the UK and Germany, while China, India and Brazil are likely to see gains. Indeed, China is expected "to continue to outpace other countries and reach near parity with the developed nations of Europe by 2020".

Simon Friend, global pharmaceuticals and life sciences industry leader at PwC, said that if investment is not stepped up over the next decade "new markets will surpass developed countries in innovative healthcare delivery". He added that "stimuli for new technologies is being built through the education system and we will see businesses focusing on new markets for new ideas and expanding sales bases".