Radiopharmaceuticals are drugs that contain radionuclide-emitting ionizing radiation and are used for disease diagnosis and treatment. They provide better understanding of the diseases as they not only give anatomical but also functional information about the organ. Radiopharmaceuticals are also used in the nuclear imaging field as tracers. They are mostly used for diagnosis with the use of gamma cameras for imaging techniques such as in SPECT and PET. Radioisotopes are majorly used in medical applications with more than 90% share. The medical application is being driven by the increasing patient population and new and effective radioisotopes. The most commonly used isotopes for diagnosis are Tc-99m and Tl-201 for SPECT and F-18 for PET.
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The radiopharmaceuticals market is broadly classified into two segments, namely, diagnostic and therapeutic; the former dominated with about 85% share in 2012. Radioisotopes in the diagnostic market are categorized as SPECT and PET. Technetium 99m (Tc-99m) dominated the SPECT radioisotope market in 2012, followed by thallium-201 (Tl-201), gallium-;67 (Ga-67) and iodine-123 (I-123). SPECT is majorly used in the diagnosis of cardiac diseases; it is poised to grow at a stable CAGR from 2012 to 2017. The PET radioisotopes market is dominated by fluorine-18 (F-18), followed by rubidium-82 (Rb-82) and poised to grow at a CAGR of more than 10% in the near future.
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Segments in the therapeutic market are beta emitters, brachytherapy isotopes, and alpha emitters. Quantitative information about alpha emitters is not arrived at, as they have not been commercialized; recent clinical studies have, however, showcased immense potential of alpha isotopes in therapies. Beta emitters contribute the highest to the therapy market, dominated by iodine-131(I-153), which is poised to grow at a decent CAGR of about 5.0% from 2012 to 2017. The market is driven by its applications for thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism, and non-Hodgkin-s lymphoma. Significant isotopes in the brachytherapy market are cesium-131(Cs-131), iodine-125 (I-125), palladium-103 (Pd-103), and iridium-192 (Ir-192). North America is the major market for brachytherapy in terms of market share, followed by Europe. However, it is showing slow growth due to reimbursement issues.
The therapy market is predominantly driven by its oncologic applications. Since conventional treatment procedures of cancer, surgery and chemotherapy have significant side effects; radioisotopes are being preferred by medical practitioners due to minimum or no side effects. The radiopharmaceutical therapy market is expected to grow significantly with the launch of the much-desired Alpharadin (Ra-223) in the near future. This isotope has tremendous potential to take up market share of beta emitters and brachytherapy.
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North America is the dominant market for diagnostic radioisotopes with about half the share. The U.S. is the largest consumer market for radiopharmaceuticals, while Canada is one of the largest producers of Tc-99m. Major players in the radiopharmaceuticals market are Cardinal Health, Inc., Covidien, Plc, GE Healthcare, IBA Group, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc., Nordion, Inc., and Siemens Healthcare (PETNET).
Major players in the radiopharmaceuticals market are Cardinal Health, Inc. (U.S.), Covidien, Plc (Ireland), GE Healthcare (U.K.), IBA Group (Belgium), Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. (U.S.), Nordion, Inc. (Canada), and Siemens Healthcare (PETNET) (Germany); Cardinal Health dominated with one-fifth of the share in 2012.
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