Global demand for medical disposable products is forecast to grow 6.2% annually and reach a value of $273 billion in 2020, according to a new market report from the Freedonia Group (Cleveland, OH). The United States will remain the largest market for these products, but China has moved into second place, ahead of Western Europe, as it continues to upgrade its medical infrastructure.
For the purposes of this report, medical disposable products are segmented into surgical instruments, infusion and hypodermic devices, diagnostic and lab supplies, wound-care products, nonwovens, sterilization supplies, respiratory devices and other products. In 2015, surgical devices and associated supplies represented the largest portion of the $202.2 billion medical disposables market with 18.1%, followed by infusion and hypodermic devices at 15.7%.
Growth drivers in the United States include an emphasis on infection prevention, where single-use devices excel, and greater pricing flexibility than is available in Europe, where tight cost controls and fixed reimbursement rates are the norm. While China also is making an effort to prevent hospital-acquired infections, growth in the medical disposables space is largely a consequence of government initiatives to improve its healthcare infrastructure and better serve its massive population, including a burgeoning middle class that now exceeds the entire population of the United States.
As the medical disposables market grows, so does demand for the raw materials needed to fabricate these products. The Freedonia Group forecasts an annual 5.3% increase in demand to $15.8 billion in 2020, and the lion’s share of those orders will land on the desks of plastics producers and processors.
“Plastic resins will continue to account for the largest share of value demand among raw materials used in medical disposables production, or nearly 73% of the total in 2020,” write the authors of the report. Non-woven fabrics make up the largest share of the remaining 27% of materials, which also include rubber, paper and paperboard, and specialty metals.
The World Medical Disposables report can be purchased on the Freedonia Group website.