Hybrid molecular imaging market to reach $287.5M in 2014
The European molecular imaging market continues to expand and new analysis from market research firm Frost & Sullivan estimates the growth to reach $287.5 million in 2014, despite numerous challenges such as low reimbursement rates, pricing pressures and high levels of competition.

The analysis finds that the market earned revenues of $201.1 million in 2007 and reports that constant innovation and the regular introduction of new products with hybrid technology will be critical to sustaining further market growth.

"The development of innovative methods of molecular imaging for specific applications is resulting in better results, supporting steady market growth," sais Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Ranjit Ravindranathan. "The consistent expansion of PET, PET-CT and SPECT modality installations are directly promoting market growth due to their ability to support an increase in procedures for oncology and other applications."

The market offers considerable potential for growth, with all segments showing differences in their growth curve. This is due to the high costs associated with modality purchases, Ravindranathan said.

These scans require cyclotrons at close proximity for the production of radio nucleotides that have a very short shelf life, he added. Moreover, saturation in some segments, including PET, is due to other segments offering enhanced applications based on the availability of hybrid systems, according to the report.

The firm noted that pricing pressures are, however, a significant market-expansion challenge, due to European healthcare and regulatory issues coupled with reimbursement restrictions governing these scans.

"Since the market is in its growth phase, low reimbursement rates coupled with high modality prices have a greater impact on market prospects," cautions Ravindranathan. "Increasing procedural costs, including the purchase of new technology with specific features, might prove to be a constraint initially but, in the long term, transition and adoption will be inevitable."

Frost & Sullivan recommends industry participants to innovate and introduce technology that would support a reduction in scan timings as well as minimize the use of radioisotopes. A focus on innovative products with value-added features would enable companies to expand their end-user base. Industry participants should also train and educate radiologists to use new technologies, through the deployment of hybrid systems, Ravindranathan added.