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Injection molded medical product market to grow at 4.4 % to reach 350,000 tons by 2012

Injection molded medical product market to grow at 4.4 % to reach 350,000 tons by 2012

Medical injection molders consumed just over 664 million lb (310,000 tons) of resin in 2009 estimated to rise to 693.5 mln lb (350,000 tons) in 2010, as per Mastio & Company's study. Growth rates through 2012 will average 4.4%, which is fairly strong compared to most other businesses these days, but certainly not as robust as what was expected a few years ago. The medical molding business is less susceptible to economic swings than most other industries. Despite the weak economic condition in 2009, molders saw an uptick in their business. A few market leaders recently added capacity to accommodate the needs of an ageing population requiring additional medical care and treatment. On the other hand, growth rates are being suppressed by vigorous pricing pressure from group purchasing plans and HMOs, along with mergers among the medical-device OEMs. Medical molders are also feeling pressure from hospitals to lengthen the life of their products. Some hospitals spend as much as US$1 mln pa on incineration, so the heat is on processors to engineer and produce parts that can withstand the myriad of sterilization procedures used throughout the world. High-growth product areas in this field include drug-delivery systems for respiratory care and diabetes, such as dry-powder inhalers, prefilled syringes, and improved blood-glucose test strips. Although hospitals will continue to be the strongest area for injection molded disposable medical supplies, molders will also see strong opportunities in over-the-counter products, as consumers opt for self treatment to lessen out-of-pocket medical costs. Medical OEMs are looking for total solutions from their molding partners in areas such as part and tool design, prototyping, and part qualifications/validations, among other things. Some molders are investing more resources into research and product development, believing that new products will define the future of the medical supply business. Competition is also becoming stiffer as more international molders enter the market. The FDA regulations and rigorous product-approval processes put in place by OEMs makes this a difficult market to enter. Reluctance on part of the OEM to switch once a molder has been approved because of the red tape involved, also acts as an entry barrier. Molders in this business tend to be highly automated and equipped with clean rooms and controlled processing environments. Resins utilized in this market are chosen because they meet FDA standards for clarity, durability, purity, and strength. For some applications, resins must be able to withstand gamma radiation or other sterilization processes without changes in color, dimensions, or physical characteristics. Commodity resins utilized for injection molded medical devices and disposables include PP, PS, PE, and PVC. Engineering resins accounted for an estimated 18% of total consumption last year. Demand for engineering resins is expected to expand due to the need for higher-performing materials in diagnostic testing, drug-delivery systems, preventive medicine, and surgical instruments. PVC faces continuing pressure for materials substitution. Environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace and Health Care Without Harm oppose the use of PVC and are encouraging medical companies to phase out its use.
Some other factors that have affected the market of medical injection molded products are:
� Pressure on pricing
� Mergers in medical device industry (OEM)
� Increasing length of life by hospitals due to reduce cost of incineration of used products
� Higher needs for better sterilization resistance
� Stiffer competition from international market
Resin Consumption for Injection Molded Medical Devices
Year
Resin Consumed in million lb

2009

664.0

2010

693.5

2011

723.7

2012

755.6

As per Frost & Sullivan, the Asia Pacific medical devices market is making a steady comeback after the global recession of 2009. Frost & Sullivan forecasts a CAGR of 10.2% from year 2009-2012, with this sector being worth 62.3 billion in APAC by 2012, a contribution of 25.8% of the global market. The APAC medical devices market is transitioning toward a mindset more focused on patient monitoring. An increased demand for safety, accuracy, efficiency and cost from healthcare service providers will consequently also drive the silver industry devices, whilst the convergence of devices and pharma products will be a trend more commonly witnessed especially in drug delivery. These factors will drive medical device manufacturers to increase R&D budget to develop newer and better products to meet market demands and customer requirement standards. Whilst globally, CAGR from 2009 to 2012 is expected to be at 5.8%, APAC will see a CAGR of 10.2%, and revenues in this segment are set go up to US$62.3 bln by 2012, capturing 25.8% of the global market revenues. Technological convergence between diagnostic, monitoring and treatment devices will be another major driver as medical professionals view the merging of technology as the next big step in accurately delivering drug treatments on time and in specific doses while conducting regular diagnostic and monitoring procedures. Doctors are actively prescribing medical devices such as the Insulin Pump & Blood Glucose Monitor for Type 1 Diabetic patients to help patients to monitor blood glucose level and administer regulated insulin at the same time. It is likely that by 2015, the medical devices industry in APAC will be looking at a growth rate almost double that of the rest of the world, signifying exciting times ahead indeed for Asia Pacific. Some of the market restraints that APAC will have to address include regulatory and reimbursement hurdles, lack of sufficient distribution networks and inadequate training/certification for allied staff. Looking from a country perspective, a strong regulatory policy that enforces stringent control over medical devices manufacturing processes is crucial for market growth.
 
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