Burn injuries, which have reached epidemic proportions in recent years, are considered a healthcare problem more serious than the polio epidemic was at its peak. According to the CDC, on average in the U.S. in 2005, someone died in a fire about every two hours (143 minutes), and someone was injured every 25 minutes.
Burn victims, more so than many other accident victims, face a multitude of roadblocks on the road to recovery. Beyond the shock and trauma of the initial incident, they must endure agonizing pain, the ever-present risk of infections, and the excruciating treatment of their wounds, which often entails scraping the burn site to promote new skin growth.
Burn pain is an extremely unpleasant form of suffering, and can be difficult to treat. An estimated 2.1 million Americans seek medical care each year for burns. Approximately 100,000 are hospitalized, and 72,000 require intensive care services. An estimated 11,000 of these people die annually as a direct result of their burns. Children and elderly adults account for more than two-thirds of all burn fatalities.
Fortunately, a new array of treatment methods have arrived in the clinical setting in time to meet the growing need. Developments in treatments of burns have made tremendous strides in the last decade. Recently, however, these advances are taking place on a daily basis with the most significant changes seen in the past 30 years.
In addition to the always-improving synthetic dressing materials, newer technologies in wound treatment include the xenogeneic tissue scaffold, bilayered human dermal substitutes, recombinant growth factors, endoscopic subfascial ligation of venous perforators, endovascular arterial repair techniques, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
The growing incidence of burn wounds and these new methods to approach the problem point to a robust market for those companies that make products to treat burns. Kalorama Information estimates in “Wound Care Markets, Vol. II, Burn Treatments” that the worldwide burn-treatment market reached revenues of nearly $1.9 billion in 2006.
The burn treatment market will continue to grow in revenues reaching $2.6 billion revenues in 2011, with a compound annual growth rate of 6.9% during that timeframe. The bulk of revenue in the burn-treatment market originates from conventional therapies such as anti-infectives, burn management, and pressure-relief devices. Here the market has for the most part reached maturity. But the lion’s share of the growth is coming from the novel therapies that result in decreasing healing times and subsequent cost savings.