The global medical plastic market was worth USD 28 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 57 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period (2022–2030). The medical plastics industry is revolutionizing the healthcare sector. Equipment previously crafted of steel, ceramic, or glass is now composed of this long-lasting, low-cost material. Medical plastic is being used in a broad range of patient medical therapy. Medical plastic is designed to resist heat, chemicals, and corrosion. As a result, it can survive repeated sterilization cycles and contact with other medical or bodily fluids. Medical-grade polypropylene and medical-grade polycarbonate are mainly two polymers used in various applications ranging from MRI casings to surgical tools.
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The development of the home healthcare sector has led to a rise in the availability of medical devices due to lower expenses than hospital treatment and critical care. Numerous medical tests used by health facilities to diagnose a patient have also contributed to the increasing utilization of health devices. Further, the rapidly increasing demand for better health centers and a rise in hospitals have also engendered the growth of the medical devices industry. Hence, medical device availability, affordability, awareness, and adaptability are significant factors determining demand.
Medical devices and equipment such as syringes, IV bottles and bags, surgical devices, disposables, diagnostic components, drug delivery devices, and implants are primarily manufactured using plastic materials. In Europe, medical devices cannot be placed on the market without ensuring that they comply with the safety requirements given by the European Union.
The regulations related to medical device manufacturing come under three directives, namely Council Directive 90/385/EEC on Active Implantable Medical Devices (AIMDD) (1990), Council Directive 93/42/EEC on Medical Devices (MDD) (1993), and Council Directive 98/79/EC on In-Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices (IVDMD) (1998). These directives ensure the protection of safety and health and superior performance functioning associated with the medical device market. In addition, the product cannot be marketed without the CE mark in the European market.
Strict product quality and marketing regulations will likely increase production costs and hamper small enterprises in the European medical device industry. This, in turn, is likely to restrain the growth of the medical plastic market over the forecast period. Furthermore, according to Eucomed, the European Medical Device Directive (MDD) is anticipated to hamper the regional innovations and research capabilities, which, in turn, is expected to inhibit medical plastic market growth over the forecast period.
In 2021, healthcare spending in the United States accounted for approximately 17.7% of the nation's gross domestic product, which is expected to continue in the coming years. The rising needs of the aging population (65 years of age or older), increased incidence of chronic disorders and diseases, infrastructure enhancements, and technological advancements are expected to drive the medical device market and the growth in demand for medical plastics.
The rising incidence of chronic diseases, coupled with the development of health coverage insurance in the United States, is supposed to drive North American healthcare expenditure. Due to soaring government investment in healthcare infrastructure, Mexico is predicted to emerge as a significant factor influencing the market in North America.
The rising trend in healthcare spending in annual budgetary initiatives is due to Western European economies' reinforcement. Moreover, the health sector in Northern European economies such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and Sweden is anticipated to expand, increasing medical device production. Conversely, political unrest in Europe's economies, such as Russia and Ukraine, is supposed to support growth.
The strengthening of the healthcare industry in Brazil is expected to drive healthcare expenditure in Central and South America. Furthermore, the Asian healthcare industry is fueled by rising consumer wealth in economies such as China and India. The solid healthcare industry in India, combined with the expansion of medical tourism, is expected to drive demand for plastics used in the medical sector, resulting in market growth.
The global medical plastic market is segmented into plastic types, applications, and regions.
Type-wise, the global medical plastic market is segmented into Commodity Plastics, Engineering Plastics, High-Performance Plastics, Silicones, and Others.
Commodity Plastic accounts for the largest market share. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.5% by 2030. Commodity plastics have numerous applications in the medical and healthcare industries. All the various types of commodity plastics, such as polypropylene, PVC, polyethylene, and polystyrene, have a wide range of applications based on the function of the devices and equipment in which they are used. The rising demand for all commodity plastics will eventually propel the segment in the medical plastics market forward.
Engineering Plastic is the fastest-growing segment. The rise in the use of polycarbonate-based composites for denture base materials is expected to drive the growth of the product segment. Moreover, Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA) remains the primary choice in the denture base. The use of PMMA for denture bases is expected to be driven by its superior performance coupled with low water absorption and solubility. The shortcomings of PMMA as a denture base material are overcome by using resins, fibers, and other materials. Increasing demand for dentures due to the growing incidences of dental disorders is expected to drive the market.
Silicones Medical Plastic is likely to acquire a substantial share in the market. Increasing demand for medical-grade silicone in various implantable devices with critical functions, including heart pumps, surgical reconstructive components, and defibrillators, is expected to open new avenues for the product market over the forecast period. The growing demand for silicone in implant manufacturing due to its bio-inactivity, biocompatibility, and superior physical properties is anticipated to impact segment growth positively. Therefore, it provides an advantageous option for Orthopedic implants, increasing the demand for plastics. The growing demand for silicone to manufacture keypad covers used in medical diagnostic machines is also expected to drive market growth over the forecast period.
Application-wise, the global medical plastic market is segmented into Medical Device Packaging, Medical Components, Orthopedic implants, Packaging, Orthopedic Soft Goods, Wound Care, Cleanroom Supplies, BioPharm Devices, Mobility Aids, Sterilization and Infection Prevention, Tooth Implants, Denture Base Material, Other Implants, and Others.
Medical Component is the largest segment, driven by the high-volume consumption of plastic in manufacturing catheters, containers, medical bags, surgical instruments, and syringes. It is exported to grow at a CAGR of 8.7% by 2030. Polypropylene is expected to remain the most popular plastic in medical components due to its superior properties, such as sterilization and impact resistance. Furthermore, the growing population, combined with an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases, is expected to drive demand for medical components. Again, several companies, including 3M, Medtronic Plc, and others, are increasing the production capacity of medical members, creating even more lucrative opportunities for medical plastics.
Medical Device Packaging accounts for the second-largest market share. This segment is dominated by polyvinyl chloride (PVC) due to its superior flexibility and ease of sterilization and re-sterilization. The use of PVC-based packaging solutions for medical devices such as catheters, bandage gauze, and nebulizers is expected to boost the market growth during the projected period. High adoption of PVC, primarily in Asia-Pacific, for packaging medical devices is expected to boost the segment growth. Further, the medical device packaging segment is expected to be driven by the rise in chronic diseases owing to the growing population of individuals aged over 65 years. Increasing demand for portable, lightweight, and compact medical devices is also expected to boost the consumption of medical plastics over the forecast period.
Mobility Aid is expected to grow, spiking the consumption and supply of plastics such as ABS, polycarbonate, PEEK, and other engineering plastics. The use of such plastics in mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, drinking aids, bath seats, etc., is expected to rise because of the growing demand for them in the equipment, as mentioned earlier, coupled with the substitution of metal components with lightweight plastics. In addition, superior properties exhibited by engineering plastics, such as strength and fatigue resistance, are expected to drive market growth.
Based on region, the global medical plastic market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central and South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America holds the largest share of medical plastic and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7% by 2030. One of the major trends influencing the North American market is the rise in per capita healthcare funding in health insurance in the United States. This is expected to boost demand for generic drugs and medical devices in the coming years, propelling the North American medical plastics market over the forecast period. Pharmaceutical packaging and medical component manufacturing are two of the critical applications served by this industry.
Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region. It is expected to reach USD 15,890 million at a CAGR of 8.7% by 2030. The region's medical plastics market is anticipated to increase substantially as plastics are growing in packaging, wound care, and mobility aids, among other applications. Moreover, as healthcare costs go up, hospitals in significant markets like China, India, and Singapore are raising their demand for high-quality medical components and devices. Likewise, surging hospital service and safety norms should drive the medical plastics market over the forecast period.
Furthermore, the recent COVID-19 outbreak in India, China, Japan, Australia, and Indonesia has created a significant demand for medical plastics in a range of medical application areas such as medical bags, testing equipment, masks, syringes, gloves, ventilation systems, medical containers, surgical drapes, and personal protective equipment. As a result, soaring cases in the region are anticipated to propel the market considerably.
Europe stands second in the global medical plastic market. Plastics are widely used in the medical industry to manufacture various products such as catheters, prosthetic legs, artificial corneas, hearing aids, and pill capsules. Plastics are used for manufacturing implants in different skin grafting surgeries such as reduction, augmentation, and corrective. The growing use of these implants in advanced medical facility infrastructure in Europe is expected to drive the product demand over the forecast period.
Furthermore, technological advancements such as medical-grade polystyrene for its antimicrobial properties and the development of advanced-grade engineering plastics are expected to augment the market growth in Europe. In addition, the growing positive cases of COVID-19 in European countries such as Spain, Italy, the UK, Germany, Russia, France, and others positively influence the demand for medical plastics in various applications such as testing equipment, medical bags, beds, gloves, and medical containers.
Key players in the global medical plastic market are Rochling Group, Nolato AB, Nolato GW, SABIC, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Eastman Chemical Company, Orthoplastics Ltd, Celanese Corporation, Tekni-Plex, Dow Inc, Solvay S.A., HMC Polymers, Proxy Biomedical Ltd, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, DuPont de Nemours, Inc, NuSil Technology LLC, and Trinseo S.A.