OCTOBER 1--According to a soon-to-be-released updated report from Business Communications Company Inc. (Norwalk, CT ; www.bccresearch.com), the US medical imaging market, including imaging equipment and related products, is estimated at $8.2 billion in 2002 and is expected to grow at a 4.0% AAGR (average annual growth rate) to nearly $10 billion (in 2002 dollars) by 2007. The overall market for imaging equipment is expected to grow at a moderate rate, based on continuing improvement in price/performance and the introduction of new technologies that significantly improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions. Currently estimated at $6.1 billion, this segment is likely to reach $7.2 billion by 2007.
The imaging products whose sales are expected to grow most rapidly include digital radiography units, multislice CT scanners, open and ultrahigh-field MRI, multimodal CT/PET scanners, and ultrasound, especially portable ultrasound units. The clinical use of PET (positron emission tomography) and the installed base of dedicated PET scanners will also increase dramatically over the forecast period, although the sales expansion of the last few years is expected to moderate. On the other hand, products such as conventional radiography and fluoroscopy units, single-slice CT scanners, and hybrid gamma cameras configured for SPECT and PET scans will show low or negative sales growth.
The fastest-growing category of the imaging market consists of computer systems that are used as adjuncts to imaging equipment. These systems have the potential to make radiologists and technicians more efficient and, in some cases, to improve diagnostic quality. Picture archival and communications systems (PACSs), which capture, store, transmit, and display images, have in the last several years transitioned from a niche market to the mainstream. Two other products in this category are also becoming important: computer-aided detection systems, which digitize, display, and analyze film images, and computed radiography readers, which create and display digital x-ray images from storage-phosphor cassettes. This category, which accounts for a projected $0.8 billion in sales in 2002, is expected to grow at a 15.4% AAGR and reach $1.7 billion in sales by 2007.
Digital storage and display of images is beginning to adversely impact sales of x-ray film. This category, currently a $1.2 billion market, will decline to $1.02 billion in 2007 as conventional radiography equipment begins to be phased out and PACS become standard equipment in hospitals and imaging centers.