Smith & Nephew does relatively less well as COVID-19 cuts elective surgeries — Panjiva

Supply Chain Research

Smith & Nephew does relatively less well as COVID-19 cuts elective surgeries

China 2971 Coronavirus 511 Health Care 353 U.S. 5317 United Kingdom 369

Medical device manufacturer Smith & Nephew reported a 7.6% year over year drop in reported revenues in Q1, including an 8.3% slide in orthopedics and a 9.5% drop in sports medicine products. That’s largely been the result of the COVID-19 pandemic leading hospitals and patients to cancel elective surgeries. The firm has reported sales in April are down by 47% year over year as the pandemic spread into the U.S. and U.K.

Panjiva data shows Smith & Nephew had already scaled back its U.S. seaborne imports of medical equipment and wound management products (e.g bandages) with shipments linked to the firm having fallen by 19.1% year over year in Q1 and by a further 15.1% in April. It is worth noting though that imports in April increased by 25.0% sequentially which in part reflects a recovery in manufacturing of the firm’s products in China.


Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports linked to Smith & Nephew by origin. Source: Panjiva

While Smith & Nephew’s total shipments were down, imports of medical devices were unchanged compared to a year earlier. By contrast total U.S. seaborne imports of devices (HS 9018.90) – ranging from orthopaedics through treatment machinery – increased by 23.6% year over year in April after rising by 3.4% in Q1. As flagged in Panjiva’s research of May 5 most of the products are imported duty free from everywhere except China where section 301 duties of 25% are common.

Smiths’ competitor Zimmer Biomet saw the fastest growth with an increase of 112.5% in April while machinery makers Philips and Braun increased by 68.8% and 2.3% respectively. 

The diverging trends indicate both a mixture of supply chain disruptions, initially in China and latterly in Europe, as well as expectations of medical demand as the industry attempts to shift from prioritizing COVID-19 to working on the backlog of non-COVID-19 issues. 


Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports of medical devices by shipper. Source: Panjiva

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