Contrast media have been in use in medical diagnostic procedures since mid 1950s and is a fairly mature market in 2012. Yet, it shows good potential to grow in the next five years due to technological advances in medical imaging like low-cost CT imaging and functional MRI. The ever-increasing cancer and cardiac mortality rates globally, growth of medical imaging in emerging markets, coupled with an increase in the demand for diagnostic image-guided procedures are foreseen to act as drivers for the growth of this market.
Contrast Media/Contrast Agents Market is broadly segmented into barium-based, iodinated and gadolinium-based contrast media. These products are further categorized based on the medical procedure (X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, and catheterization laboratory), route of administration (oral, injection, rectal, and urethral), medical indication (cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and neurology, nephrology and oncology) and finally application (radiology, interventional radiology and interventional cardiology). The global market is worth $6.2 billion in 2012, and estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% to reach $8.6 billion by 2017.
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Contrast media have evolved significantly over the past century, from barium and iodine-based agents that were used initially by medical practitioners and radiologists, to the more advanced agents like radiopharmaceuticals and gold nanoparticles that are currently in use. Sophisticated techniques such as targeted MRI imaging and gas microbubble technology in ultrasound will prove to be essential drivers in the widespread use of contrast agents in the future.
The U.S. represents the largest contrast agent market worldwide, followed by Europe and Japan. However, the economic slowdown has augmented opportunities for emerging markets like India and China to strengthen their position in the global arena. Advances in medical technology coupled with huge foreign investments from developed nations, allows these emerging markets to compete with global market leaders in this segment. Investment firms are increasingly focusing on expansion in developing markets of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, since the U.S. is on the brink of embracing healthcare reforms and major economies in Europe are still recovering from huge financial deficits.
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The global market place is highly competitive, with several small players specific to a particular geography challenging major ones. Owing to the recession and the emerging opportunities in developing countries, many small companies have similar product offerings at competitive prices. Some of the major players profiled in this report are GE Healthcare (U.K.), Bracco Diagnostic, Inc. (Italy), Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals (Germany), Covidien (Ireland) and Guerbet Group (France).
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