Lancets - among the most commonly used alternative devices for vein puncture to obtain blood samples - are increasingly being used at home by patients and at primary care facilities such as physicians' offices and community clinics to perform glucose level tests with monitoring devices.
Personal/ homecare lancets have remained the preferred choice as more patients perform glucose level tests in their homes. Such trends are being reinforced by rising patient awareness about glucose self-monitoring practices and have been paralleled by manufacturer initiatives to design value-added, innovative products. At the same time, the need to prevent the transmission of blood-borne infectious agents is driving the uptake of safety lancets in hospitals and health care facilities.
Frost & Sullivan (medicaldevices.frost.com) finds that the Global Lancets Market earned revenues of $458.91 million in 2005 and estimates this to reach $1,028.3 million in 2012.
"Point-of-care (POC) testing is likely to expand into primary care facilities over the next decade as physicians assume greater responsibility for early diagnostic triage, disease management and preventative medicine," says Frost & Sullivan Programme Leader of Clinical Diagnostics, Dr. Fiona Rahman. "POC testing, which offers an easy approach to regular monitoring of diseases such as diabetes and yields quick and simple results, is having a positive effect on the uptake of lancets."
At the same time, lancet manufacturers are increasingly tailoring their offerings to suit the needs of different demographic segments of the diabetic population. They are developing innovative, user-friendly and value-added devices that facilitate the monitoring of blood glucose levels by diabetics.
Currently, a handful of main meter manufacturers dominate the global lancets market. This has resulted in a reduced range of lancets being available and made market penetration difficult for new companies.
Another challenge for OEMs is to prove the clinical applicability of their lancets - including the price of the test, clinical validity, specificity, sensitivity and effectiveness- to clinicians.
"A significant challenge to the uptake of lancets in home diagnostic tests such as cholesterol, HIV, Hepatitis B/C, blood type test, maternity/paternity and cancer screening (PSA) by medical communities is the lack of education and awareness," adds Dr. Rahman. "Despite lancets allowing for the improvement of the quality and efficiency of medical treatment, physicians are more comfortable abiding by traditional methods of vein puncture."
Most physicians lack the specialised training required to use lancets.
The degree of unfamiliarity varies with medical specialty. The high price of the devices further restrains laboratory administrators from adoption.
Medical communities will require a deliberate push to adopt the use of lancets as part of the diagnostic test process.
Lancet manufacturers are facing price pressure from competitors in the Pan Asia region (India, South Korea and China), where products are priced lower. As a result, lancet manufacturers in Europe are aggressively trying to reduce their unit production costs. However, since homecare lancets fall in a wide variety bracket (different needle and blade type lancets and each type capable of being further broken down to specific sizes), lowering unit costs through mass production of standardised outputs is impossible.
"Lean production or flexible manufacturing technologies designed to reduce set-up times for complex equipment, increase the utilisation of individual machines through better scheduling, and improve quality control at all stages of manufacturing process will enable companies to achieve enhanced efficiency, lower unit costs and customise their product offerings," advises Dr. Rahman. "By cutting down on the costs of unit production, companies will be able to confront the price war challenge and ensure competitive survival."
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Keywords: global lancets market, lancets, market, vein puncture, blood samples, primary care facilities, physicians, community clinics, glucose level tests, personal/ homecare lancets, glucose self-monitoring, blood-borne infectious agents, safety lancets, hospitals, health care facilities, point-of-care testing, POC, diagnostic triage, disease management, preventative medicine, diabetes, diabetic population. blood glucose levels, home diagnostic tests, cholesterol, HIV, Hepatitis B/C, blood type test, maternity/paternity tests, cancer screening, PSA, laboratory administrators, diagnostic test process, Pan Asia, India, South Korea, China, needle- type lancets, blade type lancets, lean production, flexible manufacturing technologies