US demand for
sterile medical packs grows
packaging demand in the US is projected to grow by 5.4% a year to
$1.7bn in 2005, stimulated by an ageing population, increasingly
stringent infection control standards and the convenience of sterile
packaging configurations. However, tightening cost containment
pressures in the medical field threatens further advances.
These and other trends are presented in Sterile Packaging, a new
study from Cleveland-based industrial market research firm Freedonia
Group. Thermoformed trays will provide the best opportunities,
rising by nearly 6% annually to $460m in 2005. Growth will be
stimulated by increased use in surgical and diagnostic test kits.
Most rapid growth is anticipated for blister packs and clamshells,
which are expected to rise 6.5% annually to more than $120m.
Advances will be based on the strength and high visibility of
blisters and clamshells in the packaging of medical devices and
Pouch demand is expected to increase by 5.7% per annum to more than
$390m in 2005, driven by the productís versatility and low price
compared with trays. Bags will exhibit average growth over the same
period. Pouches and bags offer the best combination of cost and
quality, says the report. The fastest growing market for sterile
packaging will be medical supplies and devices, as disposables
continue to gain market share over reusables.
Packaging used in the pharmaceuticals and biologicals market will
increase at below average rates due to shorter hospital stays and
diminished growth in the number of surgeries performed. Best growth
potential is anticipated for plastic bottles, while the rise in
demand for vials and IV containers will be below average.
PVC will remain the dominant resin for sterile packaging, although
more rapid growth is expected for thermoplastic polyesters. Although
PVC has versatile applications, excellent performance
characteristics and a low price, it suffers from its incompatibility
with radiation sterilisation and environmental restrictions.
Low and high density polyethylene demand will present opportunities
based on their widespread use in bags and pouches. The strength of
bags and pouches has been enhanced by using multilayer film
structures incorporating nylons, metallocenes and other
combinations. Nylon is increasingly being used in the packaging of
large, bulky procedural kits and devices due to its toughness and
abrasion and puncture resistance.
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