In many European countries, the distribution of contrasting agents is mainly through public tenders. Due to these tender systems, the average price of contrasting agents is reducing at the rate of 4% to 9% per annum in some regions.
Although the volume of contrasting agents used is increasing, the market is not able to grow at a very high rate, due to price erosion and restricted revenue per procedure. In the case of radiopharmaceuticals, although there is a rise in the relative number of vials being sold, there is not a big difference in the overall revenue generated, due to falling prices.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the European Radiopharmaceuticals and Contrast Media Market, (medicalimaging.frost.com), finds that the market earned revenues of $1.39 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $1.69 billion in 2017. The research covers contrast media used with X-ray, CT, MRI.
As growth of the contrast media market in X-ray and CT applications has attained maturity, revenue growth is accounted mainly to growth in the MRI contrast and ultrasound contrast segments.
"The increase in aged demographic would have an indirect impact on the contrast media market, as they would lead to a greater number of medical procedures and thus to a greater use of contrast media. This is one of the most important driving factors for this market," notes Frost & Sullivan Program Manager Sujith Eramangalath.
On the other hand, the usage expansion of nuclear medicine in other fields besides oncology, along with a large number of patients diagnosed with these conditions, is driving the radiopharmaceuticals market.
However, the radiopharmaceuticals market in Europe is highly regulated in terms of reimbursement and utilization.
"Many European countries have strict reimbursement policies regarding radioactive agents", adds Eramangalath. "This is a key issue that affects the growth of this market, as the introduction and the pricing of the agent are decided by the healthcare authorities. Considering the high amount of capital involved in the development of radiopharmaceuticals, lack of reimbursement causes dissatisfaction among manufacturers, and in turn among investors."
In addition, radiopharmaceuticals have a short half-life period, and need to be used before their half-life period, as they lose half of their radioactivity within this duration. Transport and logistics of radioactive material is also a major restraint. Transport agencies need to acquire specific certifications and take precautions for radiopharmaceuticals, and only a selected few transport agencies have the proper resources for transporting and handling such products.
"It is therefore necessary that end users are educated by companies about effectiveness, safety measures, and overall developments in imaging procedures", concludes Eramangalath. "This is likely to help in brand building and ensuring customer loyalty, apart from providing competitive advantages over other participants. It is also recommended that companies collaborate with academic institutions and training facilities to increase awareness about nuclear medicine among the medical fraternity."
If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an email with your contact details to Anna Zanchi, Corporate Communications, at anna.zanchi[.]frost.com.
Analysis of the European Radiopharmaceuticals and Contrast Media Market is part of the Advanced Medical Technologies Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: European Markets for Molecular Imaging, European Market for Computed Tomography. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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