The global market for radiopharmaceuticals is poised for steady growth in the coming years, driven primarily by the rising use of radioisotopes for the treatment of various diseases, such as cancer, bone palliation, neurological disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. Around 35 million patients undergo treatment procedures for these diseases each year and this will continue to boost the demand for radiopharmaceuticals.
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, radioisotopes are essential for biomedical research in order to cure AIDS, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. The World Nuclear Association states that around 10,000 hospitals across the world use radioisotopes in medicines and 90% of this is dedicated toward disease diagnosis.
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The global radiopharmaceutical market was valued at US$4.7 bn in 2015 and is estimated to reach US$7.4 bn by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 5.3% from 2016 to 2024.
Growing Incidence of Cancer Driving Demand for Most Radioisotopes
Based on radioisotope, the technetium-99 segment led the global radiopharmaceuticals market, accounting for a share of 50.3% in 2015. This can be attributed to the high availability of technetium-99 from molybdenum-99, which is generated through the decay of uranium radioactive raw material inside the sources.
The 18F radioisotope segment is expected to gain market share during the forecast period due to the increase in demand for cyclotron-based radioisotopes for nuclear medicine and the advancement of technological systems such as PET and SPECT. The demand for other radioisotopes such as lutetium-177, rubidium-87, and gallium-62 is also high due to the rising demand for radioisotopes for cancer treatment, the surge in the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, and the detection of other infectious diseases. Based on application, oncology took the lead owing to the growing use of various radioisotopes in the treatment of different cancers.
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Radiopharmaceutical products are used by various end users such as hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and diagnostic centers. Hospitals formed the leading segment of the market in terms of revenue in 2015 due to the growing usage of radiopharmaceutical. This can be attributed to technological advancements in various systems to cure cancer patients and the rise in favorable government reimbursement policies to help patients recover their costs and provide precaution against biohazards. The ambulatory surgical centers and diagnostic centers segments are expected to gain market share by 2024 due to the introduction of advanced imaging technologies such as SPECT and PET.
Developing Regions to Witness Steady Growth despite Small Share in Global Market
The global radiopharmaceuticals market has been segmented into North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa. North America led the radiopharmaceuticals market in 2015 in terms of revenue, with the U.S. emerging as the most prominent contributor to the radiopharmaceuticals market in North America. This can be attributed to the existence of several large nuclear reactors such as NRU, which accounts for a 30% to 40% share in the Mo-99 supply for the global production of nuclear medicine.
Europe is also expected to account for a significant share by 2024 due to the increase in the number of cyclotron installations for the production of radioisotopes used in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.
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The Middle East and Africa is projected to account for a small share in the global market by 2024. However, growth in this market is likely to be attributed to the introduction of cyclotrons by the IBA Group and the setting up of new nuclear reactors such as ETRR-2 in South Africa for the production of radioisotopes.
Latin America is estimated to account for a meager share by the end of the forecast period. However, it continues to be driven by the increase in domestic collaborations with foreign radiopharmaceutical companies and major suppliers of radioactive raw materials and the establishment of hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers for cancer patients.
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