3D Printing – Revolutionizing the Healthcare Industry
3D printing is a rapidly emerging cost-effective technology with significant potential to transform healthcare delivery and clinical activities. This technology can be used in a range of devices such as prostheses, hearing aids, custom-made knee and hip implants, dental implants, and surgical instruments. The global 3D printing for medical sector market was valued at US$ 412.2 million in 2015 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 11.7% during the forecast period (2016 – 2024).
Figure 1. Global 3D Printing for Medical Sector Market Size and Forecast, US$ Million and Y-o-Y Growth (%), 2014–2024
Source: Coherent Market Insights Analysis (2017)
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Reasonable price of 3D printed medical products leading to increasing popularity
Regional governments of various countries are focusing on burden of expensive medicines on patients through effective price control measures. However, reducing profit margins negatively impact investments in research and development (R&D) phase. 3D printed medical products can effectively address the concerns of governments and the industry. Spritam (Levetiracetam) from Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, is the first 3D printed tablet that received U.S. FDA approval in March 2016. Low cost of production would in turn reduce cost of product and make it more affordable to patients. Researchers are the University of Toronto, Autodesk Research, and CBM Canada used 3D printing to produce low cost customizable prosthetic sockets for patients especially in low-income countries especially Uganda. This would further boost investment in 3D printing by healthcare providers to reduce product cost and increase profit margins.
Similarly, expensive stents, prosthetics, and implants can be made available at a much cheaper rate with improved therapeutic outcomes in the emerging economies such as India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and Russia, which would increase affordability and accessibility of medical products.
A plethora of medical applications
3D printing technology is primarily used to create artificial skin, kidney, liver, pancreas, pills, and orthopedic and dental implants. The current manufacturing capabilities are not adequate to produce artificial organs with precise shape and size of miniature organ parts. Biological models made from 3D printing technology can help in surgical training, planning, and offering personalized medicines, thus enhancing quality of life of the user. While the use of 3D printing is widely implemented in dental applications, other medical segments such as tissues, prosthetics, medicines and heart valves, medical equipment and synthetic skin are also expected to deploy 3D printing technology to a greater extent in the near future.
Different raw materials cater to different 3D printing demands
3D printing technology uses numerous materials such as the metals, ceramics, polymers, and biological cells for printing skin, organs, and medical devices. Metal printing is widely used in prosthetics and implants. Biological cells are widely used in skin and tissue printing. In 2014, L’Oreal S.A. announced partnership with Organovo Holdings, Inc. to 3D-print human skin. Organovo printed the first blood vessel in 2009 and is in the process of developing 3D-printed tissues through strategic partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies. The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM)—a research institute associated with Wake Forest School of Medicine—is involved in printing organs and tissue using gel and patient’s own cells. Ceramic is used in dental implants printing. Also, prosthetics can be printed using ceramics and polymers. Polymers are used in printing dental, orthopedic and cranio-maxillofacial implants, and biological models.
Favorable government policies and government funding to boost the 3D printing market for medical applications
The U.S. government is encouraging innovation in healthcare through funding and establishing manufacturing hubs. For instance, in 2014, the National Institutes of Health established a 3D Print Exchange organization to promote open-source sharing of biomedical 3D print files and tutorials. While the U.S. FDA currently approves only dental, orthopedics, cranio-maxillary and tissue engineering for 3D printing, clearance of the 3D printing in other segments would boost the 3D printing market growth significantly. Similarly, the Japanese government supports manufacture and sales of professional-grade printers for 3D printing (also used for medical applications). In June 2013, the Chinese government announced plans to set up ten 3D printing innovation centers across the country. In May 2016, SHINING 3D—a China-based 3D printing company—established its new headquarters in Zhejiang 3D industrial zone.
3D printing is revolutionizing the healthcare industry by providing improved therapy outcomes and affordable medical devices. This technology is enabling manufacturers to produce small and delicate parts of an organ or medical device with a high accuracy, which is a very cumbersome task using current manufacturing capabilities. Companies such as EnvisionTEC, Inc., 3D Systems, Inc., Stratasys Inc., Materialise NV, and Organovo Holdings, Inc. are collaborating with each other or independent research organizations and institutes to speed-up the research activities in order to decrease the time to market (TTM).
3D printing offers various benefits such as pre-operative planning of medical procedures based on the 3D model, creating anatomical models for training, creating medical products at lower costs, and possibility of manufacturing medical devices of smaller form factors with higher precision. Increasing awareness about cost benefits offered by this technology has increased its usage in hospitals, dentists, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, and medical clinics is propelling the market growth for 3D printing. Furthermore, growing demand for organ transplantation and funding from government and private Institution are analyzed be the major factors propelling growth of 3D printing application in the medical sector.
This report segments the global 3D printing for medical sector market on the basis of technology, application, and end user. On the basis of technology, the global 3D printing market is classified into electron beam melting, laser beam melting, droplet deposition and photopolymerization. Applications of 3D printing include tissue engineering, surgical implants, healthcare research and development (R&D), and others. 3D Printing technology is used for medical applications across pharmaceuticals and biotech companies, medical devices companies and academic and research institutions.
Key features of the study:
“*” marked represents similar segmentation in other categories in the respective section.
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