May 1, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 9)

Goal Is to Offer a Lower Overall Cost Solution

Simply put, wound-care products aim to heal wounds in a timely manner and control infection. Wound-care products cost the U.S. healthcare system over $7 billion in 2007. When one considers the additional costs associated with potential complications such as infection, extended physician care, and lengthy hospital stays, however, total annual wound-care expenditures balloon to over $20 billion.

“Active” wound-care pipeline

Furthermore, with the rapid spread of modern epidemics such as diabetes and obesity (both leading causes of chronic wounds), the rise of hospital-acquired infections, and an expanding elderly population, the situation will only worsen. As a result, there is an urgent need to reduce rising costs by reducing the length of patient-treatment cycles and improving infection management.

The worldwide wound-care market, which can be broadly divided into wound-closure products, anti-infectives, basic wound care, advanced wound care, active wound care, and miscellaneous therapies, is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6%.

Notably, over 50% of wound-care sales still originate from relatively mature markets such as wound-closure products, anti-infectives, and basic wound care. As a result, growth of the overall wound-care market is somewhat lower than might be expected, especially in light of the need for more advanced, innovative products.

The basic wound-care market, which achieved sales of over $800 million in 2007, is also growing at a CAGR of 6% and includes products such as wound cleansers, tapes, and dry dressings.

Advanced wound-care products include specialized dressings such as films, foams, and hydrogels that, in addition to providing a physical barrier to infection, all promote a moist environment for wound healing and/or exhibit some degree of antibacterial activity.

The advanced wound-care market generated sales of over $650 million in 2007, and we expect it will grow at a CAGR of just over 6%. It is likely though that any future growth in advanced wound care will come at the expense of basic wound care as both products and competitors reach market maturity.

In addition to providing a barrier to infection and promoting a moist environment, active wound-care products also promote healing. This market is, by far, the fastest growing, though it is still in its infancy. Included within the $1.7 billion active wound-care market are negative pressure wound-therapy (NPWT) devices, artificial skin substitutes, and biological growth factors.

Scientia expects the active wound-care market to grow at a CAGR of over 11% through 2011. NPWT, which makes up the majority of the active wound-care market, has grown exceptionally well over the last eight years.

It is slowly becoming accepted that the immediate application of more expensive, active wound-care products can lead to many direct and indirect cost savings. Despite having a higher initial price point, active wound-care therapies offer a potentially lower overall cost solution.

As a result, we are seeing a clear, emerging trend toward implementing more cost-effective wound-treatment programs in healthcare centers around the world that prioritize wound prevention, early intervention, and faster healing times.

Toby Zaleski, Ph.D., is a consultant at Scientia Advisors. Web: E-mail: [email protected].

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