Catheter market grows, shifts to TPU

The global market for urological catheters is projected to surpass $3.0 billion by 2017, with an emphasis on materials technology to manage critical catheter-related issues such as thrombosis. That focus is pushing the market to shift towards using Carbothane, a family of aliphatic, polycarbonate-based thermoplastic polyurethanes supplied by Lubrizol, exploiting its improved strength, enhanced softness, and retention of large internal diameter, while displacing vinyl, silicone, and latex rubber.

An aging global population and rising incidence of various urological problems, including incontinence, will drive the global market, according to the new The Global Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA) report. The advent of advanced catheters aimed at minimizing invasiveness and lowering infection risk and other complications, as well as the adoption of favorable reimbursement policies, are also expected to fuel market growth.

Emerging market opportunity

Developed countries dominate the overall catheter industry due to a more advanced medical infrastructure, but GIA forecasts that future growth in the urological catheters market is anticipated from burgeoning demand for low-priced catheters from developing countries in Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

The catheter industry is comprised of two broad segments, urinary catheters and dialysis catheters. The Foley or indwelling catheter is gradually losing share to intermittent catheters due to the latter's non-invasive feature, which significantly lowers risk of contracting catheterization-related infections. Intermittent cauterization is also driven by the trend towards self-catheterization.

In the U.S., an aging population, changes in the reimbursement policy and presence of a large, under-penetrated population base offer growth opportunities for the intermittent catheters market. In particular, the market has benefited from the changes adopted in Medicare reimbursement that provide coverage for up to 200 catheters/month. The European market for intermittent catheters is larger than the U.S. due to greater penetration by coated catheters and a larger number of catheters used per patient. The continuous shift of patients from uncoated towards coated intermittent catheters also contributes to increased revenues in the urological catheters market. Poor dietary habits, which have led to a rising incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, have made the U.S. the largest market for dialysis catheters globally.

Cardiovascular the biggest market, urological growing the fastest

The global catheter market, including cardiovascular products, is expected to reach $32.1 billion in 2014, up from to $14.5 billion in 2008, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.3%, according to a report by BCC Research. That report found the cardiovascular segment to be the largest with a CAGR of 10.2% pushing it up to $11.6 billion in 2014. Urology represents the second largest segment and was forecast to increase to $13.2 billion in 2014, for the highest CAGR among all segments at 17.1%.


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