European contrast media market looks set for growth

Although affected by price sensitivity and reimbursement policies, the European radiopharmaceuticals and contrast media market is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, according to a new report by market research firm Frost & Sullivan.

The market is expected to reach 1.32 billion euros ($1.69 billion U.S.) in revenues by 2017, up from 1.09 billion euros ($1.39 billion) in 2011.

Thanks to the primary distribution of contrast agents in many European countries through public tenders, the average price of contrast agents is dropping by 4% to 9% per annum in some regions, the company said. The volume of contrast agent use is on the rise, but the market is not able to grow at a very high rate due to price erosion and restricted revenue per procedure.

Even with an increase in relative number of vials being sold, radiopharmaceuticals are not seeing a big difference in overall revenue due to falling prices, Frost said. Radiopharmaceuticals market growth is being driven by the expansion of nuclear medicine in other fields besides oncology. The authors noted, however, that this sector is highly regulated in terms of reimbursement and utilization.

As growth of the contrast media market in x-ray and CT applications has reached maturity, revenue growth in this sector is contributed mainly due to gains in the MRI and ultrasound contrast segments, the company said.

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