Wound care market analysis shows challenges for acceptance of even the best medtech advances

The clinical practice and business of wound management encompasses virtually every type of surgery as well as trauma and disease.  Therefore, any advances in wound management — those resulting in faster healing of wounds; reduction in infections, scarring and other complications; and reduced cost in general — have the potential to impact big numbers in annual caseload. Were the markets to only operate on a correlation linking new medtech with direct clinical/economic benefit, the hurdles for medical product innovators would be far less challenging to surmount.

Market restraints to new medtech adoption, even for cost-reducing advances are often (ironically) represented by the high direct cost of the new technologies. Many countries’ have healthcare budgeting systems that are a real challenge for advanced wound care products, since such products may be proven to decrease healing times and hospital costs over the longer run, but in the short run the evidence may not be clear enough to warrant changes to existing expenditures. The development of substitute products threatens existing product categories and accepted clinical practices, while the need for definitive clinical and economic evidence backing new technology hinders growth and acceptance of some of the more advanced wound management technologies. In addition, improved wound prevention and a lack of regulation on tissue engineering in the EU are also expected to hold back the development of new technologies.

In addition to market restraints, there are a number of drivers which are expected to shape this market in the years to come. One of the primary drivers is the aging of the global population. Chronic diseases, such as circulatory conditions, anemias and autoimmune diseases influence the healing process as a result of their influence on a number of bodily functions. Illnesses that cause the most significant problems include diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), arteriosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), heart disease, and any conditions leading to hypotension, hypovolemia, edema, and anemia. While chronic diseases are more frequent in the elderly, wound healing will be delayed in any patient with underlying illness. Fortunately, most wounds heal without delay or complication. However, chronic wounds, such as those exacerbated by disease like diabetes, limited patient mobility and other problems, may take months or years to fully close, or may never close. Chronic wounds adversely affect the individual’s quality of life, and are a leading cause of burgeoning healthcare costs.

Advances in wound management technology that are leading to improved economic and clinical outcomes include:

  • “interactive” wound healing products that accommodate or respond to changes in the wound environment (e.g., via oxygen permeability or extraction of wound exudate)
  • “bioactive” wound healing products that capitalize on biological properties of wound product components to remove exudate, reduce infection and otherwise improve wound healing
  • physical systems such as NPWT, hyperbaric oxygen and others that more aggressively change the wound environment to respond to more problematic wound types
  • tissue replacement and substitution approaches to provide clinical solutions for wound types that, due to the wound severity and/or extent, cannot simply be addressed by conventional wound care products.

Wound care products are the subject of the new report from MedMarket Diligence entitled, “Worldwide Wound Management, Forecast to 2020: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Rest of World”, report #S249.