Thursday, November 8, 2012

New "Bio Fabrics" To the Rescue For Hernia Repair

Increased incidence of hernia and a need for better repair materials is driving the 3.5 billion dollar hernia repair market, according to our latest report,  Hernia Repair Device Markets and Procedures, which  indicates that the market has experienced steady demand which ha sbeen consistent from year to year -  4.8% growth on average since 2008.. 

A hernia is the protrusion of an organ or part of an organ through a defect in supporting structures that normally contain it. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that about 5 million people in the United States have an abdominal hernia. It is also a common problem for other parts of the world.  Europe authorities estimate that approximately 2 million individuals experience hernias and Asia and rest of world individuals experience another 1 million.  A hernia may occur naturally from a patient’s supporting structures, or it may be acquired from an injury or from a lung issue that leads to a persistant cough.    Most occur in the inguinal or femoral region; however, umbilical, ventral, and hiatal hernias also occur.

Herniorrhaphy is one of the most common surgical procedures with over 1 million performed annually and more than 80 percent were ambulatory cases. Only a fraction of these people seeks treatment. It is generally thought that 3% of the general population will have or develop some type of abdominal wall hernia, thus driving the need for procedures and better equipment that will help reduce reoccurrence. 
“In the past ten years, the application of bio-textiles for implants has greatly developed in the new field of tissue engineering.  New product innovation, a steady demand for superior products by surgeons, and increasing procedure volumes will likely fuel growth over the next five years.”

Composite mesh with absorbable and non-absorbable barriers for intraperitioneal placement, lightweight macroporous mesh and xenogeneic and allogeneic biological meshes are several of these novel materials discussed in Kalorama’s report.  B Braun Aesculap, Biomerix Corporation, ConMed, Cook, Covidien and Ethicon are among the companies in this market. 

The report, Hernia Repair Device Markets and Procedures contains profiles of these companies and discussions of new products, forecast for specific device markets, and trends that market-watchers will want to keep track of.  The report can be found at Kalorama Information’s website at:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Will Election Change Healthcare Policy?

Perhaps you are one of many Americans going to vote today with a 'shopping list' of issues that cause you to like or dislike President Obama or Governor Romney.

At least one major medical association thinks healthcare should NOT be one of them.

An article by attorneys written for the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA.   opines that healthcare reform is unlikely to change as a result of the election, citing for instance that a President must 'take care to faithfully execute the laws.'  thus important parts of the healthcare reform bill signed in 2010 would still have to be enforced regardless of who is President.  Also while the individual mandate would be a tax that a President Romney could hypothetically ask the IRS to 'not make a priority' the tax would have to be collected per the law.

What about repealing the law?  JAMA says this:

“Repealing and replacing” the ACA is unlikely, requiring Obama to lose the presidency and Republicans to hold the House and 60 Senate seats to prevent a filibuster. An alternative approach, through the budget reconciliation process, cannot be filibustered. However, the budget reconciliation process would face fierce Democratic challenges under the “Byrd Rule,” which requires the Senate parliamentarian to determine whether all aspects of the law have direct—not merely incidental—effects on federal revenue or spending.2
At Kalorama Information, we do tend to see what is of most interest to healthcare executives as a result of their market research buying.   We cannot say that a lot of buying is centered around healthcare reform policy changes.  Most executives know that either as part of President Obama's healthcare plan or a new President's austerity program that may have to come in the future anyway to control costs, they are likely to face reimbursement cuts that will impact device markets.  

There is one portion of the law that Kalorama believes may get some attention if the President is not re-elected, though even this is the medical device tax much maligned in the industry.  A combination of House Republicans and moderate Senate Democrats might take this issue on, especially with two large device companies in the state of two Democratic Senators, Minnesota.  Even this is speculation, as the device tax repeal would add to deficit spending, not a popular idea in Washington at this time.

Kalorama's White Paper - Healthcare Reform Winners and Losers is available from

Monday, November 5, 2012

Infusion Pumps Key to Healing and Cutting Hospital Stays.

If you need to go to the hospital for a pressing medical condition, this unknown device may be the very thing that keeps you alive and facilitates your treatment.  It also may be the key to getting you out of the hospital faster. It is an infusion pump.

Infusion pumps are used to infuse necessary fluids, which include medications and/or nutrients, to a patient's circulatory system. They are often used in situations where continuous monitoring and treatment by a nurse or other health staff would be expensive, impractical, or unreliable. They are used for everything from very simple requirements such as rehydration to more complex requirements such as those needed for chemotherapy and pain management. Accuracy and consistency when delivering medications and other fluids are essential due to the possibility of severe consequences.

 Who makes these systems.   Some companies are large, others small innovators.  More than 100 companies participate in the infusion pump market. These include well-known companies such as Abbott, Medtronic, Fresenius, CareFusion, Johnson & Johnson (Animas) and Baxter. However, a number of companies specialize in certain areas. Among these companies are Insulet whose OmniPod delivers insulin without tubing, MRI safe pumps from IRadimed, enteral feeding pumps from Moog and I-Flow home care pumps.

As this article in Virtual Strategy Magazine notes, the market for these systems is increasing in size.