The recent global health crisis provided a silver lining to the medical devices market to expand and innovate, says Angelica Buan in this report.
Medical devices on the uptrend
Human life is priceless and the calibre of the health system has important implications for people’s quality of life. Around the world, quality as well as cost and access to medical care lay the foundation for effective health care delivery. Poor health care results in human and economic costs and low productivity and waste, reaching US$1.4 to US$1.6 trillion per year, according to the Asian Development Bank.
Medical technology helps to deliver on those priorities. Particularly, in this era of emerging diseases like Covid-19 and rising prevalence of lifestyle diseases, growing geriatric population and the number of people at risk for developing chronic illnesses, demand for surgical procedures and medical devices must meet a variety of diagnostic and management requirements to achieve effective patient outcomes.
Demand for medical devices has been strong and steady. Within five years from 2020, the medical devices market is expected to veer close to US$88 billion, achieving a growth rate of 4% during this period, according to a Technavio forecast.
However, this growth trajectory has been slightly derailed due to the pandemic. Citing a Lucintel report, the global economic downturn caused by Covid-19 decimated the medical devices market in 2020. Nevertheless, recovery is expected to take place in 2021, pushing the market to reach an estimated US$426 billion by 2025, growing 3% to 5% from 2020 to 2025.
Stabilising the supply chain with technologies, investments
The Covid-19 virus continues to batter industries, and the medical industry, although benefitting from the unprecedented demand for medical devices, is under pressure to ramp-up production of medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE).
The increase in demand has also led companies to expand their production capacities, develop new solutions and work collaboratively with industry peers.
US producer of custom moulded silicone rubber products KDL Precision Moulding has joined IRP Group, a California-headquartered manufacturer of elastomeric sealing components. The partnership builds upon KDL’s capability in moulded parts and IRP’s liquid silicone rubber (LSR) moulding capabilities to produce elastomeric sealing components. IRP has been recently acquired by Integrated Polymer Solutions, a US manufacturer of engineered elastomeric components and tools for aerospace and defence OEM and MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) applications.
On a related note, rebuilding and securing the supply chain for medical devices is also high on the agenda for recovery from 2021 onwards.
Responding to the requirement for resilient supply of safe and secure medical products, Vonco Products, a US company specialising in custom flexible packaging and flexible component solutions and which recently acquired contract manufacturer of medical devices McFarlane Medical, has increased its production of 95kPa biohazard transport bags. Vonco’s own invention, the bag is used to safely contain, transport and dispose of diagnostic and highinfectious materials and meets the IATA (International Air Transport Association) requirements for shipping hazardous liquids on air transport. Each bag is made with a custom film structure that features a strong adhesive closure and continuous seal, which makes it ideal for critical liquid and substance containment.
Along the same vein, Toronto-based plastic products manufacturerViva Healthcare Packaging is also augmenting production of its three-ply medical grade face masks to over 22.5 million/month by early 2021.
Viva has received an Ontario Together Fund investment of US$450,000, intended to increase Ontario’s stockpile of locally made PPE. It is using the fund to retool operations and expand production of PPEs. Viva also plans to add two high output face mask-making lines that will run 24/7 with inventory sufficient to support quick deliveries, it said. Viva has three locations worldwide, including Canada (Toronto), its flagship factory equipped with 200 injection moulding machines; Poland and Hong Kong.