U.S. PET sales fall, procedure volume rises

PET procedure volume is projected to increase 20 percent this year despite falling PET scanner sales in the United States, according to a new report from market research firm Bio-Tech Systems.

According to the report, PET procedure volume should rise to 7.1 million procedures by 2015, due to expanded use of PET in oncology, coupled with effective use of the NOPR PET Registry.

Although the dominant focus of PET is still in oncology, applications in cardiology are increasing, including rubidium PET studies for myocardial perfusion, have stimulated growth.

Additionally, PET has become more accessible to a wider base of physicians and patients, increasing the referral base, which has increased sales of FDG, while reducing the cost per dose. FDG sales of $332 million in 2007 will increase 17 percent in 2008 to $389 million and reach $1,324 million by 2015. The report noted that it is likely that PET reimbursement will eventually be expanded to open coverage, similar to MRI and CT, which will allow wider use of PET procedures.

While PET procedure volume is growing, sales of PET scanners have fallen. In 2007, there were 219 PET scanners ordered domestically including refurbished systems, down 19.2 percent from the previous year. Internationally, PET orders increased 9 percent to 291, putting the worldwide total at 510 PET scanners.

U.S. bookings were $348.6 million (including refurbs) and international bookings were $513.8 million, with a worldwide total of $862.3 million—a 4.4 percent decreased worldwide due to the weakness in the U.S. market, the report noted.

More efficient utilization of existing PET scanners is expected to offset reduced reimbursement based on current growth of procedure volume, according to the report. By 2015, the U.S. market for PET scanners is expected to reach $690 million and the worldwide market will grow to $1,57 million.

However, over the long term, the ratio of U.S. sales to worldwide sales will stabilize at about 45 percent for the United States and 55 percent internationally. Mobile sales will also recover and comprise about 25 percent of overall bookings, providing an important underpinning in the PET market, the report concluded.