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After years of strong growth, the orthopedic implant market has hit a few bumps in the road

June 9th, 2014

In 2012, knee orthopedic devices, which account for the largest share by revenue of the total orthopedic devices market, were subject to product recalls due to implant loosening, corrosion, wear and manufacturing errors, factors that were expected to have a major impact on total market revenue and reduce the growth rate for knee implants, according to a market report published by Transparency Market Research earlier this year.

 However, the industry’s growth model appears to be changing. In a post on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry Web site, Senior Editor Arundhati Parmar noted growing pressure to reduce implant prices from private and governmental health care insurance providers is eliminating the incentive for implant makers to introduce “knockoff” products that do not offer any major technical advances, and future sales growth will need to be driven by “truly differentiated” products and services. In the meantime, implant manufacturers have reacted to price pressure by trying to increase their economies of scale through mergers and acquisitions, the MDDI post noted.

 Total hip and knee joint replacements, the traditional powerhouses of orthopedic growth, have matured. Room still exists for advancements in such products, but for the most part their foundational breakthroughs have already occurred. On the other hand, the tightly interrelated sectors of spinal implants and biologics (treatments of implants to promote bone growth) have yet to achieve high levels of patient satisfaction or physician interest. One or two big innovations in these areas could send these markets soaring the way knee and hip implants did 15 years ago.

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