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MIRDC: Global Market for Medical Alloys Shows Huge Potential amid Aging Population

Jul 20, 2016 | By Steve Chuang

Growing demand for orthopedic implants amid a global graying population is among main factors accelerating market expansion of medical alloys (photo courtesy of UDN.com).Growing demand for orthopedic implants amid a global graying population is among main factors accelerating market expansion of medical alloys (photo courtesy of UDN.com).

With aging population increasingly a problem that forces global governments to revive and reform domestic medical systems to ensure sustainable economic and social development, the international market for medical alloys and related products shows great growth potential, and is gradually opening to small and medium-sized players, according to Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC), a Taiwanese government-funded R&D institute.

Rapidly Aging Global Population
MIRDC cited statistics from the United Nations to point out that while global population had explosively surged from 2.53 billion people in 1950 to 6.51 billion persons in 2005 and 6.89 billion persons in 2010, those aged 65 and over totaled some 524 million ones to account for 7.6% of the total in 2010.

MIRDC continued that the elderly-to-the-total ratio is forecast to stand at 16.2% in 2050, when overall and aging population will reach 9.31 billion and 1.51 billion people, respectively, and keep trending upward to 22.3% in 2010, when the global population will total 10.12 billion persons.

That, MIRDC noted, indicates the huge growth potential of the global market for medical instrument and alloys, especially those specifically for therapy of diseases commonly seen in older patients, such as artificial joints, intravascular stents and artificial tooth roots,

Another sign of rapidly aging population increasingly sustaining market demand for more medical services and instruments is sharply surging health expenditures worldwide, particularly in developed countries. MIRDC indicated that health spending per capita in the U.S., for instance, had significantly soared from US$1,055 in 1980 to US$7,471 in 2010, while that in Taiwan also shot up from NT$10,765 in 1991 from NT$38,510 in 2010.

Market Moving Towards Better Price-Quality Balance
Under the situation, the global market for medical alloys and instruments is moving towards a better balance between prices and quality and gradually opening to ever more players.

MIRDC observed that to offer more affordable services to the elderly and safeguard profits and medical quality amid aging population, hospitals generally tends to collectively purchase needed instruments from manufacturers as a strategy to force world's major suppliers to lower prices, which, in turn, allows an access for smaller-sized companies and contract manufacturers to the lucrative market.

On another front, manufacturers have actively developed new, innovative medical instruments catering to consumers in needs of better medical quality, in efforts to gain solid ground and achieve banner sales in the markets.

Emerging Countries Also Promising Market
With global emerging countries heavily investing in infrastructure and civil engineering to serving as world's major economic growth propellers, MRIDC opines that domestic market demand there has also shown promising growth that Taiwanese suppliers should not overlook.

For example, MIRDC mentioned, local demand for bone screws and plates in both China and India is particularly surging, primarily resulted from growing industrial accidents, whereas domestic industries of such products are comparatively underdeveloped in both technology and manufacturing capability.

MIRDC concluded to say that the global market is absolutely on a promising uptrend of growth for a couple of reasons, including growing aging population; and ever more new, advanced medical instruments and applications, such as wearable devices, hitting the market to satisfy increasingly demanding consumers. On the other hand, population aging has weighed on global developed countries in the face of deteriorating national healthcare systems, while market demand for medical instruments in emerging nations has significantly surged.

All the factors mentioned above together give MIRDC a good reason to believe the market and the industry will see a promising future in the short term.

Global Population and Ratio of People Aged 65 and Over to Total
Year
Global Population
Elderly-to-Total Ratio
1950
2.53 billion people
5.2%
2000
6.12 billion people
6.9%
2010
6.90 billion people
7.6%
2020
7.66 billion people
9.4%
2030
8.32 billion people
11.7%
2050
9.31 billion people
16.2%
2080
9.97 billion people
20.6%
2100
10.12 billion people
22.3%
Source: Metal Industries Research & Development Centre


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