Asia pacific infusion therapy device market notches strong growth

In this exclusive contributory column, Andrew M. Ignatov and Sean Collins while sharing their insights explain how the infusion therapy will continue to be one of the leading factors in making the expansion of healthcare in Asia Pacific countries viable, effective and efficient. Read the full article:

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The Asia Pacific medical device market presents immense opportunity for companies specializing in intravenous (IV) therapy equipment and consumables. Most prominently, the Chinese and Indian infusion therapy device markets grew at CAGRs of about 7% and 6%, respectively, between 2014 and 2017. Meanwhile the Australian, Japanese and South Korean markets recorded low-single digit growth.

IV infusions allow direct access to the blood stream of a patient for a quick intervention. Doctors and medical personnel in the Asia Pacific region use different methods of IV therapy for infusing medications, saline water for hydration, reagents, and blood in more than a hundred million procedures every year. Doctors often require the use of intravenous procedures for addressing dehydration, pain, gastrointestinal conditions, sepsis, osteomyelitis, hemophilia, sclerosis, arthritis, immune deficiencies and cancer.

Hundreds of local and international suppliers provide this sector with intravenous infusion pumps (IV pumps), intravenous infusion line sets (IV sets), needless connectors for IV sets (NLCs), blood IV lines, and other consumables, such as in-line filters and in-line stopcocks for IV sets.

In China, the IV therapy method of medication has become universally preferred to oral medication. In 2017, there were over 5 billion IV sets used nationwide, or 44.5 IV sets per hospital bed. However, in recent years, IV therapy has become widely overused and misused in China. By 2016, infusion therapy had become such a popular method of medication in China that the government acted to limit its use in non-essential procedures, encouraging doctors to use other methods instead.

In 2011, the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission reported that the average use of infusion therapy was 8.4 infusions per capita, while the average in other countries was 3 infusions per capita. 30% of outpatients received drugs via intravenous infusions in 2014. Adverse events, related to infusion therapy, were observed in 0.73% of patients. As a result, in 2016, infusion therapy in outpatient facilities was banned in several jurisdictions in China, including the Shanxi and Jiangsu provinces. The goal to limit the use of IV infusions included decreasing the use of antibiotics and increasing the use of alternative methods of medication.

So where is the growth coming from? One factor driving growth in the Chinese infusion therapy market is the adoption of technologies available in other countries and other fields of medicine. The success of American and European suppliers of IV therapy solutions in the region has energized a swarm of market followers from around the world, leading to a dramatic decrease in prices due to economies of scale, competitive pressure and the expiration of patents.

Another factor driving growth in the Chinese infusion therapy market is the expansion of local health care markets in general via increased government healthcare spending and improved health insurance coverage. Governments in the Asia Pacific region led the globe in raising spending on health care: China increased health care spending by 18% from 2006 to 2011, Korea raised spending by 5.7% from 2013 to 2014, India bumped up expenditure by 19.6% from 2001 to 2011, Australia allocated an additional 4.7% from 2006 to 2016, and Japan expanded spending by 2.4% from 2013 to 2016. Additionally, health insurance coverage is increasing. In China, where health care is mostly public, health insurance coverage increased from 43% in 2006 to 95% in 2011. In India, where health care spending is mostly private, health care insurance coverage was expected to grow from 15% of the population in 2014 to 27% in 2017.

Infusion therapy is popular, but the majority of procedures are simple gravity infusions. Expansion of health care availability in China and India requires significant investment, and premium IV therapy devices are often passed over for economical solutions, such as non-branded IV sets.

At the same time, data on how infusion therapy devices are actually used in many countries of the Asia Pacific region, that would be beneficial to both device manufacturers and device users, is scarce. Such lacking data include frequency of use, errors in application, and frequency of hospital-acquired infections as a result of IV procedures. Currently, such information is decentralized, dispersed or not routinely collected in China, India, and South Korea. In Australia and Japan, the collection of such information is a routine practice, so that systemically malfunctioning equipment can be recalled from the market in a timely fashion. But there is progress: in 2016, South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety launched the Medical Device Distribution Shutdown System for recalling systemically malfunctioning medical devices.

Above all, there is a lack of scientific data about the efficacy of IV therapy use, allowing one group of researchers to call IV therapy in Asia “a bundle of disparate interventions”. Some health care practitioners in Australia point to the fact that the nation lacks IV therapy standards, relying instead on hospital regulation guidelines from the U.K. and standards of practice adopted from the U.S. Two examples of such standards are the Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice 2016 and Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing – both of which were developed by the U.S. Infusion Nurses Society. In China, Japan, India, and South Korea, the lack of IV therapy data and standards of practice lead to the unguided use of the least expensive equipment and supplies without understanding the detrimental effect these low-cost products may have.

Infusion therapy will continue to be one of the leading factors in making the expansion of healthcare in Asia Pacific countries viable, effective and efficient. IV therapy device suppliers can expect even greater opportunities in the coming years as improvements are made to the systems for monitoring errors and malfunctions, recalls, collection and analysis of IV therapy field data, and the development and adoption of systemwide health care standards for intravenous therapy.

About the Authors
Andrew M. Ignatov is a Research Analyst at iData Research and served as lead researcher for the preparation of the latest Intravenous Therapy Devices Market Reports. He has also worked on numerous other research assignments in other medical device areas.

Sean Collins is an Analyst Manager at iData Research. He has served as the principal analyst for dozens of medical device research projects and now leads others in doing the same.