GLEN ALLEN, Va.—The value of the global medical polymer market is set to rise by more than half in the next five years, boosted by an aging population and developing markets.
A new report from U.S. research group NanoMarkets estimates that the market will grow from $2.3 billion to more than $3.5 billion, a rise of more than 52 percent, between now and 2018.
According to NanoMarkets implants currently consume around half of the world's medical polymer production and are expected to account for $1.6 billion in polymer sales by 2018.
Lower in cost and lighter than metallic alternatives such as titanium, medical polymers are proving popular among device manufacturers and the medical profession alike.
Meanwhile sales of polymers destined for diagnostic systems likely will reach around $1.04 billion in 2018.
In vitro diagnostics account for between 50,000 and 60,000 metric tons of specialized and commodity plastics annually, NanoMarkets said.
Leading medical polymers include acrylic, styrenics and polypropylene, while the market is seeing the increased use of more comfortable' material, such as elastomers, to provide a soft-touch feel to products.
More products, perhaps even entire prostheses, will increasingly be made from biodegradable polymers, NanoMarkets added.