IMV: PET utilization slows in 2008
Image Source: Siemens Healthcare
Total PET and PET/CT studies in the United States increased 4 percent from 2007 to 2008--from approximately 1.46 million to approximately 1.52 million procedures--representing  a slowdown in procedure growth compared with double-digit gains in prior years, according to market research firm IMV Medical Information Division.

The report found that an estimated 1,520,800 clinical PET patient studies were performed in the United States in 2008, of which PET studies were performed in 2,000 hospital and non-hospital sites, using fixed or mobile PET/CT or PET scanners.

"The estimated 1,520,800 clinical PET patient studies performed in 2008 represent a 35 percent increase over IMV's 2005 estimate of 1,129,900 patient studies, for an average annual growth rate of 10.4 percent over the three-year period," observed Lorna Young, senior director, market research at IMV.

With the advent of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005, related legislation against self-referral for standalone imaging centers, the increased scrutiny of third-party insurers in their preauthorization processes and the reduction in the availability of capital, the market for PET purchases may continue to slow over the next few years, IMV said.

However, the firm said that the PET market for fixed PET imaging units is still relatively early in its adoption cycle, as over half of the PET sites use a mobile service provider, and more than 900 sites own one or more fixed PET or PET/CT scanners.

A market forecast scenario presented in the report stated  that over the next few years, "55 percent of the PET scanner demand will come from first buyers, who currently use mobile services, 30 percent will be replacement buyers and 15 percent will be additional buyers."

The report also described trends in PET and PET/CT patient studies by procedure type, PET and PET/CT installed base by manufacturer and year of installation, planned purchases and unit market forecasts through 2012, radiopharmaceutical utilization and expenditures by supplier and site operations characteristics.

Other findings include:
• Of the patient studies performed on PET or PET/CT scanners, 94 percent are for oncology applications, and 6 percent are for cardiology and neurology applications;
• 93 percent of the PET patient studies used radiopharmaceuticals purchased from an outside supplier and 7 percent were obtained from cyclotrons on site;
• The median waiting time for a scheduled outpatient appointment at fixed PET or PET/CT sites is two days; and
• The five states with the highest PET and PET/CT patient study volume are California, Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania.