Sunday, 9 August 2020

Asia-Pacific (APAC) — Future Hub for Sterilization Technology?


One of the most common words that we usually associate with hospitals and other medical facilities is ‘sterilization’. This word has become synonymous with healthcare solutions, so much so, that the first question usually asked by people during a medical procedure or test is “Are the instruments sterilized?” After all, sterilization is specifically adopted for low fatality during surgeries and other treatment procedures. 

A guest post by Pramod Kumar.

It has been more than 150 years since sterilization was first adopted in medical procedures, and it continues to remain an integral part of healthcare solutions and services all over the world. Furthermore, with the growing incidence of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) in several countries, the adoption of sterilization methods will increase even more in the coming years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Every year, Americans contract 1.7 million infections while being treated in hospitals. These infections are associated with approximately 99,000 deaths annually. In addition to the significant toll on patients’ lives, HAIs represent an estimated $30 billion in added healthcare costs.” 

Recommended book: Sterility, Sterilisation and Sterility Assurance for Pharmaceuticals: Technology, Validation and Current Regulations

Hence, with the growing prevalence of HAIs in many countries and mushrooming requirement for sterilization, the global sterilization technology market will exhibit rapid progress in the future years.

As noted above, the increasing prevalence of HAIs is a major factor fueling the requirement for sterilization technology across the world. The growing incidence of these infections has massively pushed up the mortality rate and caused heavy financial losses for the healthcare industry. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, seven in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire at least one healthcare-associated infection”. Furthermore, the prevalence of HAIs is considerably higher in middle- and low-income countries than the high-income ones.

Growing Surgery Volume also Playing Important Role

As per a report published by the WHO in 2016, almost 266.2 to 359.5 million surgical procedures were performed all over the globe in 2012. Considering the boom in the population and increase in the access to healthcare, it is assumable that the surgery volume would have burgeoned further in the last 7­–8 years. Furthermore, the increasing incidence of obesity is causing a sharp rise in the requirement for bariatric surgeries, on account of these surgeries being highly effective in treating obesity. The rapid rise in the number of surgeries being performed all over the world is a major factor propelling the demand for sterilization products and solutions.

Sales of Sterilization Devices To Rise Steeply in Future

In addition to the growing prevalence of HAIs and the increasing number of hospitals around the world, the rapid advancements in the biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries are creating a huge requirement for various sterilization devices across the world. There are multiple types of such devices used in medical settings, such as those based on the low-temperature, steam, radiation, heat, liquid, ultrasound, and filtration technologies.

Out of all the devices, the usage of heat sterilizers is predicted to increase at the highest rate in the coming years. This is ascribed to the growing incorporation of heat sterilizers in instrument reprocessing and biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, for the sterilization of bulk products, moisture-sensitive materials, and products having medicinal properties. Moreover, heat has been the most effective way to kill microbes, which makes heat sterilizers vastly popular.

What Are Major Application Areas of Sterilization Technology?

Pharmaceutical sterilization and medical devices are the most important application areas of the sterilization technology. The adoption of sterilization methods is predicted to be quite high for medical devices in the forthcoming years. This is mainly credited to the surging requirement for advanced surgical devices, on account of the soaring geriatric population and ballooning number of surgical procedures around the world. Additionally, the increasing awareness on sterilization amongst both healthcare practitioners and patients is boosting the need for the proper sterilization of medical devices.

Sales of Sterilization Products Booming among Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Firms

Out of all the major end users of sterilization products, namely ambulatory surgical centers and clinics, hospitals, academic and research organizations, medical device companies, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the highest procurement of these products is currently being observed among pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The main reasons behind the adoption of these products by these organizations are the mushrooming production of biotechnology and pharmaceutical products and increasing number of such companies across the world. Additionally, such companies are subject to some of the most stringent safety regulations of any industry, and failing to meet the set standards can not only lead to a loss of patient life, but also strong regulatory action.

North America Is the Most Sterile Continent

Globally, North America observed the highest adoption of sterilization technology in the past, with the U.S. recording huge sales of enabling products. This is ascribed to the existence of numerous medical device and pharmaceutical companies and hospitals and growing prevalence of HAIs in the country. In addition to these factors, the surging investments being made in the healthcare industry by private and public organizations and increasing number of surgical procedures being performed are also pushing up the requirement for these products in the region.

But Asia-Pacific (APAC) Is Quickly Catching Up!

Amongst all regions, the adoption of the sterilization technology is increasing at the highest rate in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. This is attributed to the surging healthcare expenditure, growing geriatric population, rising pollution levels, advancing pharmaceutical industry, and the presence of a flourishing medical tourism sector in the region. As per the observations of the World Bank, the total healthcare spending in South Asia was 3.9% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000, and this share grew to 4.4% in 2014. The increasing healthcare spending in South Asian countries is creating huge growth opportunities for medical device manufacturing companies, which will, in turn, cause a swift expansion of the sterilization technology industry in the region, in the years to come.

Hence, it can be concluded that the demand for sterilization methods and products will rise tremendously all over the world in the coming years, mainly on account of the growing incidence of HAIs, increasing number of surgical procedures, and rising public awareness on hygiene.

Source: P&S Intelligence

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