Editorial

Infection Control & Hygiene Drive Demand for Medical Nonwovens

By Tim Wright, editor | August 13, 2014

The global market for medical nonwoven disposables is projected to reach US$22.7 billion by 2020.

Nonwoven disposables have become one of the most important parts of the healthcare industry. Their disposable nature given them an edge over woven fabrics traditionally used in hospitals in the past.

Growth in the global market for medical nonwoven disposables is being driven by factors such as advances in nonwovens production technology, increased focus on preventing hospital acquired infections (HAIs), and improving healthcare infrastructure and services across developing countries.

Focus on infection control as a means to cut healthcare costs and provide greater patient safety shows that hospitals and other healthcare facilities are looking at disposables as essentials.

Market growth is also attributed to the rise in surgical procedures and the trend towards home healthcare for an aging population. There is a constantly growing demand for nonwoven gowns, drapes, masks, caps, sheets and gauze as a means to prevent cross-infections in healthcare facilities.

Driven by these trends, the global market for medical nonwoven disposables is projected to reach US$22.7 billion by 2020, according to research firm Global Industry Analysts.

According to the market research report, “Medical Nonwoven Disposables”, Europe represents the largest market worldwide. The region is expected to continue witnessing strong demand as national standards have been implemented to ensure harmony with EN (European Standards) for medical devices and protective equipment. Compared to developed regions such as the U.S., Europe and Japan, demand for medical nonwoven disposables is relatively low in developing countries due primarily to low-income levels and high prices of disposables. Lack of awareness about benefits offered by disposables particularly in infection control is also cited as a reason for the comparatively low sales of nonwovens. Asia-Pacific is forecast to spearhead future growth with a CAGR of 7%.

Apart from the medical supplies market, nonwovens used in adult incontinence care products represent the largest product category in the global medical nonwoven disposables market. An increase in the number of people affected by incontinence and the introduction of innovative products, such as thinner and rustle-free diapers, are driving market growth. Though North America and Europe are major markets, Asia-Pacific is emerging as a market with enormous potential for incontinence products due to the aging population, particularly in China.

In the U.S., president of the nonwovens association INDA, Dave Rousse, recently said in a webinar organized by Rodman Media Corp., that due to the Affordable Care Act, Center for Disease Control and Prevention advisories and also payment qualification criteria imposed by private insurers, the disposable nonwoven market is expected to grow at a 5% rate. This growth figure is more than the earlier expected growth rate of 2%.

According to Rousse, medical nonwovens in the U.S. has a share of 9% in the total nonwovens market. Allied product such as absorbent hygiene has 21% share, wipes has 17% share and filtration has 11% share. The Affordable Care Act emphasizes the shift from quantity to quality, which will aid the growth of disposable nonwovens.

In this issue senior editor Karen McIntyre delves into the latest key trends and happenings in the medical market. Be sure to take a look to find out what major players are up to and have to say about this exciting and growing sector of the nonwovens industry.

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