Contrast agent & radiopharmaceutical market decline to continue

A shrinkage in the U.S. contrast agent and radiopharmaceutical market that began in 2012 is projected to continue through 2017, according to a new report from market research firm Millennium Research Group (MRG).

MRG predicts that procedural growth in this market will be limited by declining prices of contrast agents and radiopharmaceuticals, by reimbursement to payors, and by restrictions imposed by health insurance companies on their insured patients. These factors will impact a market that has already experienced a decline of 15% between 2010 and 2012.

Although there will be an increase of elderly patients who will need diagnostic exams using contrast agents and/or nuclear medicine exams, the market for contrast agents and radiopharmaceuticals has become commoditized, resulting in fierce price competition, according to the firm.

Ultrasound contrast agents are the only market that is not experiencing price competition, because contrast agent Definity (Lantheus Medical Imaging) has a nearly 90% market share, according to report author Ravindra Sharma. However, shortages of this contrast agent are giving Optison (GE Healthcare) increased sales. Sharma is also predicting that when Bracco Diagnostics receives U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for its SonoVue contrast agent, there will be additional downward price pressure in this market category.

MRG's "U.S. Markets for Contrast Agents and Radiopharmaceuticals 2012" report includes unit, average selling price, and revenue information. It describes market conditions and competition by manufacturers of these products. These companies include Bracco Diagnostics, Cardinal Health, GE Healthcare, and Triad Isotopes.

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