The global MR market is expected to climb from about $4.1 billion in 2013 to more than $9.2 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 11.8 percent, according to a new GlobalData report.Technological advancements, cheaper systems and interest from developing countries are fueling the market. Hospitals are increasingly demanding advanced MR capabilities including functional MR, cardiac MR and diffusion MR. Many MR-safe pacemakers made with non-ferromagnetic material have come to market, enabling those patients to undergo MR procedures for the first time.

In addition, advancements have been made to speed up the scan times so moving body parts including the abdomen and heart can be imaged. Previously, CT was used for those applications but MR is starting to take over some of that.

“Innovation is getting to the point where we’re starting to see more patients referred for MR using newer and more advanced techniques that make it possible to image moving parts, and less for CT,” Rob Littlefield, senior analyst covering medical devices at GlobalData, told DOTmed News.

Even though hospitals are demanding these advanced MR capabilities, they’re also demanding less expensive systems. Health care reform is putting pressure on hospitals to cut costs and improve cost-effectiveness.

“It’s a balance of trying to look at improving outcomes while also reducing costs and finding the most cost-effective devices to do it because at the end of the day these hospitals are businesses that have to maintain their bottom line,” said Littlefield.

But Littlefield said that it’s tricky for the manufacturers because they’re trying to develop the “next generation” features, yet the market is demanding cheaper systems. In order to satisfy those demands and still make a profit, companies are taking to deploying different strategies.

They are offering customers service packages that provide three years of 24 hour support, for example. They are also selling to a consortium of hospitals for a reduced price.

The U.S. market will experience much innovation and growth in the next few years but the same cannot be said about the European market. Littlefield said that the U.S. did suffer a lot of setbacks as a result of the recession but that in many cases, some of the European countries including Spain, Italy, France and the U.K. had it even worse.

The governments are running out of money and informing the hospitals that they will only receive a certain amount of reimbursement. For example, a hospital in Spain may only be reimbursed in full for 2,000 cardiac electrophysiology procedures and after they exceed that number, they will be reimbursed less.

Even though there have been many advances in MR system capability, the current economic situation in Europe will be the greatest threat to new innovation in the next five years, according to Littlefield.

China and India are starting to purchase more of the less-expensive MR systems because of increases in average incomes, a growing demand for health care and higher standards for care.

The companies included in the report are Siemens Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, GE Healthcare, Hitachi Medical Corporation, Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, Hologic, Mindray, Esaote S.p.A., Aurora Imaging, Fonar Corporation, Sina Healthcare, Time Medical Systems, Neusoft Medical, Ningbo Xingaoyi Medical and China Resources Wandong Medical Equipment.


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