Surgical/diagnostics and ‘superbugs’ spur infection prevention and control market growth

By Carrie Meadows

Infection control concerns have recently caught the nation’s attention with media reports specifically related to the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) “superbug,” which led to the death of a Virginia teen in October. Infections from the drug- and antimicrobial-resistant germs have been seen spreading beyond health care institutions into other environments, as was the case in Virginia. In a new study, “Infection Prevention Products & Services,” Cleveland, OH-based industry research firm The Freedonia Group reports that growth in the infection control market will reflect “increasing government and private pressures” on the medical community to alleviate the widespread problem of health-care acquired infections (HAIs), which afflict 2.3 million hospital and ambulatory patients each year. U.S. demand for infection prevention products and services will advance 4 percent annually to $16.8 billion in 2011, according to the study.

Bill Martineau, senior health-care consultant with The Freedonia Group, says that the urgency to improve infection prevention strategies is evident throughout the health care system, pharmaceutical industry, and life science sector. “Thirty states are now adopting mandatory infection prevention practices and reporting systems” for their health care facilities, explains Martineau.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are highly involved in regulating various aspects of products, services, and industries devoted to infection control, says Martineau, so the results of their regulations and investigations will invariably lead to new products and advances in infection control. “The FDA defines standards on the manufacturing of products such as medical devices and drugs given to fight infections; the EPA is responsible for making sure disinfectants meets standards and the manufacturers’ claims regarding the type and percentage of organisms killed,” he clarifies.

Equipment and product demand

Stricter FDA standards for product quality control and quality assurance are forcing pharmaceutical and medical device producers to upgrade and expand sterilization and disinfection systems. Martineau says that steam sterilizers are “a big-ticket item” in terms of sales, but they also have a long life cycle so their growth will be minimal. Compact or “flash” sterilizers that can be used in small settings are becoming popular; endoscope processing systems, such as those offered by STERIS (Mentor, OH) and Advanced Sterilization Products (Irvine, CA; a Johnson & Johnson Company), are seeing growth in the market due to more frequent advanced medical diagnostics and surgical techniques.

In the supply segment, products used in surgery are expected to post the largest share of revenues, the report claims. The potential risk for transmitting air- and blood-borne pathogens in the operating room, combined with increasing frequency of operative procedures, will increase demand for surgical drapes and gowns 3.6 percent annually to $3.9 billion in 2011. Preference for enhanced barrier, Level 4 textiles (which provide the highest level of protection against pathogens) will also favorably affect growth. Martineau notes that demand for surgical scrubs and germicides for patient preparatory procedures is rising in direct correlation to the number of surgical procedures being performed. General disinfectants are top sellers in the disinfectant category, although the study does not include janitorial cleaning products.

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Trends and companies to watch
Disinfectants will comprise a $2.8 billion market in 2011. Consistent handwashing and disinfection practices, mandatory glove wearing, and patient prep protocols with pre-surgical antiseptics and appropriate clean garments will increase the sales of related products.

Kill ratings and the type of microorganisms targeted are the main differentiators for disinfectants. 3M (St. Paul, MN; offering various quat disinfectants) and Purdue Pharma (Stamford, CT; known for Betadine® microbicide and Betasept® surgical scrub) are among the leaders in disinfectant suppliers.

Kimberly-Clark (Dallas, TX) showed the highest growth this past year, with approximately $870 million in revenue related to infection control products. The key to success in this market, Martineau believes, is developing a diversified product line. “The company is developing many specialty products,” he says, “such as medical devices to promote infection prevention, as well as a line of drapes, gloves, masks, and others.” Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH) is considered a main competitor to Kimberly-Clark in diversified infection control offerings. STERIS has probably the third largest growth rate in the market due to its sterilization systems, says Martineau.

Martineau further notes that waste disposal and management services will continue to expand their business. Contracted medical waste disposal services are in demand as fewer health care facilities and laboratories are using on-site incineration. Service providers include Stericycle (Lake Forest, IL), Waste Management (Houston, TX), Allied Waste Industries (Phoenix, AZ), and Kendall (Mansfield, MA), which sponsors a disposal program for sharps containers.

Diagnostics for early detection and treatment of infections is “definitely a hot area right now,” Martineau says, due to the fact that about 50% of HAIs are preventable; early treatment helps reduce the impact of the infection. He predicts that companies diversifying into products and services applicable to homeland security-for detection and prevention of intentional biological threats-will remain of interest.

For the full report, contact The Freedonia Group: phone 440-684-9600; www.freedonia


compiled by Carrie Meadows

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