According to a new report, the market for needle-free injection devices and safety syringes will exceed $2.49bn (€2.1bn) by 2009, buoyed on by the increase of incidences in needlestick injuries and high consumer demand for syringe alternatives.
Biopharmaceutical research and development is sure to dramatically increase the number of injectable drugs coming to market over the next few years. While advanced drug delivery techniques continue to hold promise for unique methods of administration, the traditional injection is still the dominant paradigm.
However, the staggering costs and intransigent safety problems associated with sharps, along with consumer demand and the move to alternate site care, are pushing for alternatives to traditional needles and syringes faster than advanced delivery technologies can come online.
Annual needlestick injuries in the US alone average 600,000 to 1 million, and estimates indicate that as many as 80 per cent of the incidents could be prevented with the use of needle-free devices and safety syringes.
The report, by market research firm Kalorama Information, details the costs associated with needlesticks-costing institutions over $3,000 per injury even when no infection occurs-coupled with other factors, such as patient fear of needles and the resulting lack of compliance, are strong enough drivers to grow the market by a compounded annual rate of 11 per cent over the next four years.
Whether the devices are insulin pens for diabetics or mono-dose vaccine injectors, developing newer and safer ways of administering a wide variety of drug therapies is here to stay, even if such devices do come with a higher price tag.
"Certainly the development, testing, regulatory approval, and eventual mass manufacturing of such devices is not cheap, yet the costs need to be continually weighed against the greater benefit to global health," said Joseph Constance, the report's author.
"With newer injectable drugs coming to market and incidences of diseases requiring injectables, such as diabetes, escalating worldwide, the need for safer devices will continue to grow the market."
The report explains that the alternative in the short term appears to be the growing industry of needle-free injection and safety-engineered syringes.
These devices, ranging from simple sheathed safety needles to complex gas jet injection systems, are competing in a vigorous marketplace, some sectors of which are growing at an annual rate in excess of 20 per cent.
Main market players in this arena include, Johnson & Johnson, Becton Dickinson and Kendall Healthcare, which is a Tyco International Company.
While these companies are jostling for the number one position, there are an emerging number of companies who are seeing market niches go unmet.
These companies include including Antares Pharma, Bioject, D'Antonio Consultants International, Retractable Technologies and Safety Syringes.
The need for improved safety is clear especially as The Occupational Safety & Health Administration estimates that 8 million workers in the health care industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including HIV, Hepatitis (Carried by at least 4 million Americans) and others.
The report: "Needle-free Injection Systems and Safety Syringes: The Market for Alternatives to Needle-based Delivery," is available to buy from Kalorama.