New techniques are accelerating the healing time of wounds and boosting revenues for device makers, according to Kalorama Information. Revenues in the wound care market reached $16.1 billion in 2011 and will rise to nearly $12 billion in 2015, the health care market researcher predicts.
Tried-and-true products such as anti-infectives and pressure relief devices have been available for years. Others, such as biological dressings and negative pressure wound therapy devices are newer and have not yet been widely adopted. As those products become more accepted, they will account for the majority of market growth in the next few years.
“Conventional, mature products continue to generate the majority of sales; however, their growth rate is slow,” explained Mary Ann Crandall, Kalorama Information’s wound care analyst.
Wound management product makers Johnson & Johnson, Kinetic Concepts, Covidien, Hill Rom and Smith & Nephew stand to benefit from the market growth.
According to Espicom, the advanced wound care market earned $5.5 billion in revenues in the U.S. alone last year, led by both biological dressings and negative pressure wound therapy, which uses vacuum technology to remove fluid and heal wounds faster. Negative pressure therapy has been proven effective in healing skin grafts and minimizing complications in at-risk patients. Preliminary studies published in Ostomy Wound Management and other journals indicate that it may also reduce the incidence of surgical site infections at closed incisions. Smith & Nephew’s iteration, the PICO Single Use Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System, is portable and disposable. Patients can wear it home, which could reduce readmissions due to infection, says vice president of clinical affairs Patricia Burns.
“What we see here is the evolution of therapy,” Burns said. “When negative pressure was first used, it was on the most complicated cases. But we’ve begun to expand the type of wound on which it can be used” – and put it within reach for more patients at more facilities. The disposable PICO system is less expensive than traditional negative pressure products.
Despite the number of wound care therapies available, there is little established evidence to help providers determine which treatments work best in different situations. To narrow that gap, the federal agency for Healthcare Research and Quality awarded the Johns Hopkins Evidence-based Practice Center a $475,000 grant last year to carry out an extensive research review. The research will focus on chronic wounds and determine the value of therapeutic interventions, such as medications, antibiotics, dressings and surgery. “There is a very limited amount of well-developed information about how you deal with wounds,” co-investigator Dr. Gerald Lazarus told the Wall Street Journal. “When money is tight health payers take a hard look at the effectiveness of the products they buy. Some advanced wound care products are expensive, and the lack of a substantial clinical trials base to support claims of effectiveness has led some to question the net value of them. The recent increase in clinical trials will help considerably in allaying the fears of clinicians and make for a sustainable growth in the market going forward,” said Joanne Maddox, a senior health analyst at Espicom who compiled the company’s wound management report.