Sports Medicine: The New Playing Field
Sports medicine is one segment of the device industry that may fare well in the post-health care reform world. New treatments aimed at preserving joint structures may protect young athletes from more invasive procedures down the road.
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The musculoskeletal sector continues to be bogged down by the economic downturn, and particularly hard hit is the industry’s largest segment: the $13 billion total joint market. Companies are now scouting out the next technology wave in orthopedics, and the record attendance at the recent International Cartilage Repair Society meeting may be one indication of where the action will be for some time to come.
The global market for orthobiologics, comprised primarily of bone replacement materials, reached almost $2 billion in 2009 and is growing at an overall rate of 7%. Medtronic leads in bone replacement with a 45% market share, but overall growth in orthobiologics may come from emerging segments, particular synthetic and stem-cell based technologies.
Injectable products that can alleviate pain and even reverse the disease process are on the horizon for treating degenerative orthopedic and spinal conditions, such as damaged articular joint cartilage and deteriorated spinal discs. With no available long-term treatment options for these conditions short of invasive surgical procedures like joint replacement or spinal fusion, injectable technologies that offer the possibility of being used upstream in the continuum of care are potential billion-dollar market opportunities. In fact, in a post health care reform environment, injectable therapies may prove to be the most cost-effective way for treating many degenerative conditions.