The global market for medical elastomers will face a number of serious challenges over the next few years that will decide the future of the medical device industry and the medical elastomer industry, for many years to come. The challenges and trends are outlined in a new report from Smithers, The Future of Medical Elastomers to 2025.
The global market for medical elastomers is estimated to have been 723.5 thousand tonnes in 2015. It is forecast to be around 1,284.4 thousand tonnes in 2025, having grown at a compound average growth rate of 5.9%, according to Smithers data.
The impact of COVID-19
The role of medical elastomers is highly important in the fight against infectious diseases like COVID-19. The virus is having and will continue to have a seriously negative impact on the economies of all countries affected. Given that the US, China, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and South Korea represent a major share of the world’s economies, the final impact is likely to be extreme even if a vaccine can be found to fight the virus. It is therefore essential to ensure that sufficient reserves of medical devices are put into storage, to take care of any such future possible emergency.
Increasing the supply of medical components and devices in response to the demand caused by the pandemic will also result in an increase in the demand of certain medical elastomers. This demand will be a function of the amount of any given medical elastomer used in any particular medical device. The Future of Medical Elastomers to 2025
includes detailed coverage on the impact of COVID-19 on the market with special analysis by Smithers.
Shifts in world population
The overall increase in world population, combined with a potential growth in the transmission of contagious diseases, is placing a heavy burden on medical institutions as is the rapid increase in the geriatric population. The need to sustain it in a good state of health demands serious investments in medical institutions, resulting in a rapid increase in the use of medical elastomers in medical devices.
The escalating migration from poorer countries to those able to sustain relatively higher levels of national health is responsible for serious increases in the transmission of infectious diseases. This will have a positive impact on the use of medical elastomers. The increase in the transmission of infectious diseases in hospitals and clinics is causing a serious problem, due to overcrowding and over-worked staff. Components produced from medical elastomers are easily sterilised, by all known sterilisation processes.
Medical device regulation
The decrease in the use of plasticised PVC in medical applications, due to problems with incineration and recycling, and with the transmission of plasticisers is driving change in the medical elastomers market. TPEs (mainly TPS) and silicone elastomers are replacing plasticised PVC and vulcanized elastomers with the new European Union medical device regulation (MDR) forcing change.
Health and safety regulations
The introduction of stricter health regulations, in particular on the use of polymers in medical applications, is a main trend driving the medical elastomers market. The most important regulation in European law is REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals). REACH regulations are based on a European Union directive issued in 2006. They required a list to be compiled of all chemical substances used or likely to be used in the production of plastics and rubbers. While REACH is a purely European Union regulation, it is likely to have a knock-on effect on rubber goods imported into Europe. Given that European tire-labelling regulations had a strong impact on the global tire industry, the same situation is likely to be the case with regard to REACH regulations on food contact and related applications.
For further information and to download a brochure vist The Future of Medical Elastomers to 2025