The medical device market is growing well and has been posting consistent and stable revenues for a number of years and some market segments are even achieving double digit growth rates. The market is doing so well because the rate of innovation in new products is allowing treatments that were previously unthinkable; devices that can allow patients to see, walk or hear again for instance. These new types of devices may provide solutions for some of the most unsolvable medical problems over the next decade and this means the health industry is investing boldly.
An example of the latest technology that is coming into the market comes from the current industry leaders Medtronic. Quests for diabetes solutions that are less invasive, smarter and less awkward for patients has been a goal of the big medical device companies and the MiniMed 670G is due to be launched in 2017, which aims to solve these issues. The MiniMed 670G acts as a closed loop system for personal insulin delivery and it is the first hybrid closed loop and effectively the first artificial pancreas product.
Most areas of the medical industry have to move at a slow and steady pace as regulation and clinical studies protect patients and assess viability over the course of years. However, medical devices are able to move much faster than medicinal treatments, because despite still being heavily regulated, they have a much shorter research and development window because much of the technology is proven, coming directly from other sectors such as the tech market. The implications of the new technology is not all positive however and there are many challenges that must be met to keep the next generation of smart and connected devices safe from malicious activity, such as ransomware viruses, hacking and device failure. New legislation is being introduced to help ensure standards are keeping up with the pace of change and devices are protected from these threats.
In previous years legislation on medical devices has been tough, but has not hampered innovation or growth, however in May 2017 new legislation in the EU could become trickier to negotiate for device manufacturers. They are very likely to have a big impact on the medical device market and manufacturers are currently preparing to deal with the changes. Whilst helping to make devices safer, there is a risk that further regulation might stifle growth in the market, potentially slowing down the current rate of improvement.
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