Report: PET procedures grew at brisk clip in 09

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Representative 18F-flutemetamol–positive Alzheimer's disease case with PET scan.
Image source: Annals of Neurology

PET procedures increased 9 percent in 2009 to about two million, with comparable growth projected for 2010. However, U.S. sales of PET scanners declined 21 percent compared with 2008, according to a Bio-Tech Systems’ report.

Although PET faced continued reimbursement pressures, PET users had more confidence and were willing to adapt to the requirements imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and insurance carriers, according to the market research and strategic planning firm, located in Las Vegas. This allowed PET to be used more efficiently, with average procedure volume increasing and scanner utilization improving.

Some less efficient providers sold their practices to hospitals, consolidating the installed base in areas where patient referrals were adequate to make PET economically viable. Although reimbursement issues will persist, it is likely that PET will eventually qualify for open coverage similar to CT and MR, which will stimulate the market, offered Bio-Tech.

Sales of FDG in 2009 were relatively flat at about $300 million because of competitive pricing. However, growth resumed in 2010 and will accelerate over the next several years as new products are introduced. The report predicted that FDG sales will increase to $880 million by 2017, while total PET radiopharmaceuticals sales will rise to $3.43 billion by 2017. Of this total, $2.43 billion will be from sales of new products across a wide spectrum.

In 2009, U.S. sales of PET scanners declined 21 percent compared with 2008. Manufacturers took orders for 164 systems including refurbished units. Uncertainties over reimbursement and excess capacity delayed PET purchase plans for many potential buyers. This situation is stabilizing with buyers showing more confidence and manufacturers better addressing their needs by broadening the product base, claimed Bio-Tech. The market has responded well to the added choices, which should help future sales.

The firm forecasted that U.S. and international orders for PET scanners will resume growth at 9 to 10 percent per year and may exceed these projections with growth in procedure volume. Worldwide sales of PET scanners will increase from about $700 million in 2009 to $1.16 billion by 2017.