The World Health Organization estimated in 2015 that 4/5th of preterm infants developed jaundice. Preterm birth rates can be as high as 7% in developed countries and are even higher in developing ones. Babies with neonatal jaundice are far more likely to develop hyperbilirubinemia that can lead to neurological damage or even premature death. The National Institute of Health journal estimated that healthcare cost linked to preterm American births in terms of lost efficiency and medical expenditure were more than US$ 26 billion in 2005 itself. APAC and Africa had the unfortunate distinction of accounting for more than 80% of all preterm births in 2005, making infants there vulnerable to neonatal jaundice. Therefore, neonatal phototherapy treatment is the need of the hour.
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Technological advancements in monitoring and phototherapy devices
Rapid technological innovations are predicted to favour companies investing in user-friendly control panel phototherapy devices and blue spectrum radiation sources. Key stakeholders are working on LED radiation sources as they can optimally control radiation intensity and have consume a minimal amount of power. Companies in the neonatal phototherapy devices market are focusing on devices with a peak wavelength of 460 nm and which can be mounted on an incubator or a warmer to avoid infrared and ultraviolet radiation. The primary drivers of growth in the neonatal phototherapy devices market are the high frequency of neonatal jaundice, rising demand for effective neonatal jaundice treatment and management, and a greater awareness of the existence of such procedures.
Home-based phototherapy actively promoted to create huge opportunities
The largest end-user in the neonatal phototherapy devices market is undoubtedly hospitals and NICU’s. However, the high treatment cost and lack of adequate phototherapy units at the vast majority of neonatal phototherapy centres have assisted the growth of home-based phototherapy units. Home-based phototherapy units have several advantages such as reduced patient hassle, transportation cost, and hospital waiting time. Furthermore, home-based phototherapy reduces both direct and indirect healthcare costs and improves the mother-infant bonding. An article published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine stated that approx. US$ 18,000 was saved by a little over 60 infants in their homes as opposed to hospitals and there were no reported side-effects.
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Product differentiation a challenge in the neonatal phototherapy devices market
The uptake of neonatal phototherapy devices is minimal in low and medium income countries. Most revenue in the neonatal phototherapy devices market is generated in developed economies, their low birth rates notwithstanding. The North America neonatal phototherapy devices market is poised to grow to more than US$ 36 million in 2027 with the U.S alone approaching US$ 35 million. The main reason for this is the lack of product development in the neonatal phototherapy devices market. There have been several cases where neonatal phototherapy devices have failed and been recalled by the FDA, hampering revenue growth during the forecast period. For e.g. – In December 2016, the NeoBlue Blanket LED Phototherapy System was recalled by the FDA because of device degradation following the melting of its fibre optic cable.
High prices stifle adoption in the neonatal phototherapy devices market
Neonatal phototherapy devices are extremely expensive making affordability a critical issue in emerging economies as hospitals there often have limited funds and cannot afford to maintain such equipment. A Stanford study said that many hospitals in Nigeria and India were unable to source an average of six phototherapy bulbs that cost roughly US$ 15 per bulb as they needed to be replaced every four months. The APAC neonatal phototherapy devices market is anticipated to be valued at more than US$ 4 million by end 2027. Thus, companies need to try to make their neonatal phototherapy devices cost-effective and governmental support will also go a long way in boosting the prospects of the neonatal phototherapy devices market in emerging economies.
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