Q&A with an Analyst: Vascular Access Market

Welcome to the analyst interview series where we take a closer look at specific markets and try to understand how they are being impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Through asking our market analysts a series of questions, we attempt to get an in-depth look at the current state of the market while uncovering critical market insights that medical device companies could act on today.

This time, we had a quick interview with Hudson Lynn, who joined iData Research as a lead analyst on the Vascular Access market report series covering Global markets. By analyzing both primary and secondary sources for the past eight months, he was able to gain an in-depth understanding of the Vascular Access space and become a voice of confidence in these times of uncertainty.

In this interview, Hudson shares his thoughts on how the Vascular Access market is going to be impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are asking him the following questions:

Q: Where was the Vascular Access market headed before the COVID-19 outbreak?

The Vascular Access device market is relatively mature and stable. Over half of the total market is dominated by two major segments: the syringes and needles segment; and the peripheral IV catheters (PIVC) segment. In both of these segments, the leading competitor by market share is Becton Dickinson (BD). BD controls approximately half of the global PIVC market and is similarly dominant in the syringes and needles market. Because the products within these segments are treated as commodities, the overall market was growing by only about 1% to 2% year over year.

If we look at the innovation levels within the Vascular Access space, we can see a similar trend. The biggest contributor to the innovation rate of the market in recent history has been the introduction of safety devices that prevent needlestick injuries. These types of devices are already well established in the U.S and European markets and are beginning to emerge globally.

Q: How is the pandemic going to affect the Vascular Access market’s growth trajectory?

Difficult to say. On the one hand, the market’s growth will be positively impacted by the increased market demand. For instance, we are already witnessing that increased demand for IV catheters is dictating the short-term growth of the market. However, if the companies within the VA market struggle to meet the rise in demand, the long-term growth of the market will be limited.

Q: Which Vascular Access procedures are expected to experience positive growth due to the pandemic? And why?

As mentioned earlier, the PIVC placement procedures are already experiencing growth. In the U.S., 90-95% of hospitalized patients require a PIVC, so it’s natural to see the number of PIVC procedures increase in the light of the pandemic as hospitalization rates begin to climb.

The second type of procedures I would expect to go up is that of Central Venous Catheter (CVC) and Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) placements. Unlike PIVCs, CVCs and PICCs can be used for longer periods of time and allow for the patients to leave the inpatient care, which can be crucial in reducing the pressure on the healthcare system.

CVCs generally have a higher flow rate than PICCs, but they have also been known to cause infections at a higher rate. Thus, I expect the number of antibacterial CVC placement procedures to increase throughout this pandemic. As hospital systems are already under considerable strain it may become a top priority to reduce preventable complications like those caused by catheter-related infections.


Q: Which VA procedures are expected to experience a decline in numbers as a result of the pandemic? And why?

Two types of procedures that I would expect to be negatively impacted over the next few months are ultrasound and tip placement insertion procedures. For long-term catheters like PICCs and CVCs, usage of ultrasound and tip-placement technologies is a fairly well-established practice in the U.S., and to a lesser extent in Europe. However, for placement of devices like PIVCs, one of the key limiters of ultrasound and tip-placement technologies is the increased amount of training required to learn how to use these products. It is expected that the time and resources needed for this type of training may be limited over the coming months which will limit short-term growth in these markets.

Q: How do you think the market’s overall rate of innovation going to be impacted?

The Vascular Access market is not likely to experience an accelerated rate of innovation due to the pandemic. Because it is a mature and well-developed market, the innovation levels have been stagnating for the past few years. One possible outcome will be that the blood control PIVCs that reduce blood spatter during use will see an increased uptake in an effort to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, as practitioner safety becomes a greater concern, the market may be expected to transition more readily towards needlestick safety devices. Historically in the U.S. and European markets, the transition towards needlestick safety devices provided a significant amount of growth to the market. If the current situation accelerates the transition, it will apply positive pressure on the global market.

Q: How long do you think will it take for the Vascular Access market to get back to normal? How will the new normal look like?

The VA market probably isn’t likely to experience long-term effects stretching well beyond the current pandemic. In the short-term, however, the competitive landscape might change. As the demand for certain products goes up, the established market players, like BD, may run into supply issues allowing for secondary players, such Smiths Medical, B. Braun, and Cardinal Health, to temporarily improve their market positioning. As a result, the pandemic has the potential to temporarily affect the market share distribution while allowing for possible permanent changes as new relationships are built between the medical device companies and the hospitals.

Q: What should medical device companies do in order to adapt to this market uncertainty?

During times like this, I think it is essential to understand what your current position in the market is. As hard times come, they become a wakeup call allowing you to step back and reconsider your approach to the market.

For 15 years, we have been keeping on top of the latest market trends and movements within the medical device industry. We believe that existing market conditions and drivers are not going to go away, but their impact is definitely going to change. From the business point of view, you have to start thinking critically about how the pressures affecting your company’s bottom line would be impacted. Would the number of device users go up or down? Would the device usage change? Or would the new demand emerge?

By asking those questions, your goal is to uncover opportunities that the current market presents. If you are struggling with identifying those opportunities, feel free to contact us, and one of our market experts would be happy to help you understand how you can adapt.

COVID-19 has already caused a significant social and economic impact on medical device organizations worldwide. At iData Research, it is our prime responsibility to keep you updated on the latest market trends in the industry. We are working hard to update reports within our report library to reflect on the changes in the market due to the effects of the coronavirus. 

In addition, we have created a dedicated page, COVID-19: Implications for the Medical Device Industry, to post news updates and provide information on the current market situation. We hope that the page can help industry leaders ask the right questions and shed light on what the future might hold for different medical devices markets.

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