World demand for medical device packaging is projected to increase 5.9% annually to $25.7 billion in 2017, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc. Reflecting the operation of advanced and diversified medical product industries, the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan will continue to account for almost 60% of the total market. However, demand in these countries will expand below the average global pace as intensifying health care cost containment pressures and fierce multiple supplier competition weaken growth. The fastest expanding medical device packaging markets are expected to emerge in India, Mexico, China, and the more prosperous Africa/Mideast countries, where diversification, expansion, and stricter regulation of medical product industries are raising the quality and functional requirements of containers and related accessories.

Pouches and trays will continue to lead sales among container types based on adaptability to cost-effective infection-resistant and security-enhanced formats. Multiple compartment trays will build sales as they virtually eliminate the risk of staff errors and the spread of infectious agents during the preparation of products for surgery and various other patient procedures. Clamshell packs are also expected to fare well in the global marketplace as they match or exceed all the advantages of rigid trays while offering greater protection against product damage during transport and storage. Bags and boxes will realize below-average gains in demand. Among other medical device containers, blister packs and glass vials will post the fastest growth. Increasing use in contact lens packaging will boost the market for blister packs, and glass vials will remain the principal container employed for diagnostic reagents and related substances.

The U.S. will continue to be the largest market for medical device packaging, as its advanced medical product producers commercialize new high-value-added supplies, instruments, and equipment with specialized packaging needs. Gains in West European and Japanese demand are also projected to benefit from new product introductions, as well as from the upgrading of government and industry standards. In the developing world, China will provide the largest and broadest sales opportunities for medical device containers and related accessories due to burgeoning domestic and export markets for its medical goods. Spurred by rising investment, China is reportedly evolving into a leading worldwide developer and supplier of technologically advanced medical products.

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