Mon September 30, 2019

In a Plastics Market Watch report released today, Watching: Plastics’ Contribution to Healthcare, The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) reported a growing demand for plastics in a number of healthcare sectors including pharmaceuticals, surgical equipment and tools, vision/dental/hearing, research labs and more.

According to the report, medical equipment and supplies production were projected to increase 3.7% year over year in the second quarter of 2019 and 4.8% in the first quarter of the year. Since their introduction in the healthcare sector 70 years ago, plastics have become a dominant material in health for patient care, innovation, safety and affordability. Today, the plastics industry, from machine manufacturers and resin companies to molders and processors, are fully engaged with the healthcare sector in supporting innovation and the full understanding of the role plastics and polymers can play in medicine and healthcare.

“This report is significant in that it highlights the advances plastics machinery manufacturers have made with medicine, how our molding and extruder equipment are on the frontlines of healthcare innovation,” said Tony Radoszewski, PLASTICS president and CEO. “Plastic is vital to supporting pharmaceutical advances, new medical equipment development and public health initiatives.”

The National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine have highlighted the vital role of plastics in human health; but the material also helps control costs, a priority of all healthcare participants, whether by reducing infection, the costs of supplies and materials or improving the lifecycle of a medical device.

PLASTICS Chief Economist Perc Pineda, PhD noted, “Since the demand for healthcare is fairly inelastic (not sensitive to price changes compared to other products and services) we expect that spending on healthcare will rise, particularly as population ages. Since plastic is an essential material in medical devices, equipment and supplies, the prospects for companies throughout the plastics industry supply chain remains promising.”

As outlined in the Market Watch report, some of the greatest medical innovations in the past 50 years have been shaped, interconnected, molded and encased with plastics; emerging innovation includes the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and wearable or implanted medical devices as well as personalized medical equipment from dental implants to knee replacements through 3D printing.

The executive summary is available here. The full report is available for PLASTICS members and non-members to download here.