Sharps safety devices have gained acceptance in recent years in European markets. However, future growth is being restrained by the lack of European legislation mandating their use. While manufacturers could consider lobbying for such legislation, alternatively, they could explore the potential that African markets hold in terms of the need for such products allied with the prospect of large volume sales.
Frost & Sullivan (medicaldevices.frost.com) finds that the European Sharps Safety Devices Market earned revenues of $676.0 million in 2005 and estimates this to reach $1.0 billion in 2012.
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“The perceived risk of pathogen transmission from needlestick injury is the most significant market driver,” notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Ruth Sharples. “Blood-borne viruses may be transmitted from a patient to a healthcare worker during the routine administration of medicines or removal of the patient’s blood for testing. Sharps safety devices have been designed to reduce the risks related to such injuries.”
Therefore, despite severe healthcare budget constraints and the lack of European legislation mandating the use of these devices, relatively expensive sharps safety devices have been adopted in recent years. Their use has been particularly widespread in areas of the hospital where there is a considerable threat of pathogen transmission through needlestick injuries.
However, the most critical restraint to sustained market growth is the lack of European legislation mandating the use of sharps safety devices. Without this, significant market growth in all segments is unlikely to occur.
“Increased adoption of sharps safety devices is limited by the additional cost of safety devices compared with their conventional counterparts,” adds Ms. Sharples. “At the same time, European legislation mandating the use of safety devices in all clinical settings would support revenue growth.”
Currently, the largest competitors in this market are lobbying for European legislation that will mandate the use of sharps safety devices. However, the need for such legislation is questionable since pathogen transmission is generally being successfully managed through good clinical practice and prophylactic drugs.
Only a few European healthcare workers are contracting diseases through needlestick injuries each year, and adopting more expensive devices would seem disproportionate to the risk. However, legislation would certainly ensure significantly higher revenues for the market leaders.
“There is a considerable need for sharps safety devices in the African markets due to the high levels of reuse of devices and the pervasiveness of HIV and AIDS,” concludes Ms. Sharples. “If manufacturers can minimise their production costs to allow their products to be priced appropriately for the African market, they could benefit from the economies of scale offered by these markets.”
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