Ongoing efforts to prevent hospital-acquired infections, a global increase in inpatient and outpatient procedures, and rising worldwide sales of direct-to-consumer medical products will fuel growth in the medical disposables sector, according to a study from the Freedonia Group (Cleveland, OH). Global demand for medical disposable products is forecast to rise 6.6% annually to reach $245 billion by 2018. Plastic resins will represent nearly 73% of raw materials used in the fabrication of medical disposables at that time.
Products designed to treat or manage chronic conditions will achieve the fastest revenue growth, according to Freedonia analysts. Drug-delivery devices and, notably, products with safety features that prevent needlesticks, such as the Needle-Trap device developed by Schreiner Medipharm, will be large revenue generators. The World Medical Disposables report also cites innovative prefilled inhalers and transdermal patches, which enable patients to self-manage chronic conditions, as winners in the global marketplace.
While growth will be more muted in the developed markets of the United States, western Europe, and Japan, emerging economies will pick up the slack as they expand and modernize their healthcare infrastructure and adopt formal infection prevention protocols.
The 10 largest markets, accounting for two-thirds of total demand in 2018, are the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Brazil, India, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Average annual growth in these markets during the forecast period will range from 3.6% in Japan to 15% in China, according to analyst Bill Martineau.
Global demand for raw materials used in the production of medical disposables, the vast majority of which are plastics, will increase 5.4% annually to $14.3 billion in 2018, says the report. North America will continue to account for the largest share—almost $5.3 billion in 2018—but the Asia-Pacific region will post the fastest rate of growth. By 2023, the Freedonia Group estimates that demand for medical disposables raw materials in the region will reach $5.7 billion, with Asia-Pacific surpassing western Europe to become the second largest market in the world after North America.