The global contrast media market is projected to reach $5.9 billion by 2026 from $4.9 billion in 2021, at a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period. The growth in this market can be attributed to the rising prevalence of chronic diseases, growing approvals of contrast agents, rising volume of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations performed, growing number of diagnostic centers and hospitals, and availability of reimbursement. Emerging markets in Asian countries are expected to offer strong growth opportunities for players in the market. In contrast, the high cost and inaccessibility of advanced therapeutics may restrict market growth to a certain extent. The contrast media/ contrast agents market is segmented based on type, modality, route of administration, indication, application, end user and region.
The COVID-19 outbreak had a negative impact on the contrast media/contrast agents market due to decreasing patient visits to hospitals. The pandemic has put significant strain on healthcare systems. Healthcare institutes and providers were instructed to stop performing elective surgical procedures and medical examinations to slow the spread of the disease and conserve healthcare resources for COVID-19 patients. As a result, many radiology departments experienced a rapid decline in imaging case volume.
The reduced use of contrast media/contrast agents due to the declining volume of elective and non-essential procedures, the lower utilization of routine testing, reduced capital spending by customers, and a decrease in research activity due to laboratory closures and reduced clinical testing have all affected the contrast media/contrast agents market. Many countries have begun to reopen their economies, but it will take time for the utilization rate of contrast media/contrast agents to reach pre-pandemic levels. Any resurgence in COVID-19 infections could result in new lockdowns, quarantine requirements or other restrictions to slow down the spread of COVID-19, which could negatively impact market growth.
DRIVER: Growing approval of contrast agents. The rising global prevalence of chronic diseases has resulted in a significant increase in the demand for diagnostic imaging procedures and, in turn, contrast media. The increasing demand for imaging procedures has resulted in extensive R&D by contrast media manufacturers to launch novel products in the market and to get the contrast media approved in new indications. For instance, in 2021, Bracco received US FDA approval for the 20-vial pack configuration of Lumason, which is an ultrasound contrast agent.
RESTRAINT: Side-effects and allergic reactions associated with contrast agents. Contrast agents are generally considered safe to use in various diagnostic procedures, such as MRI and CT scans. However, certain side effects and allergic reactions associated with their use may limit market growth to a certain extent. Their adverse reactions range from mild to severe; severe reactions are very uncommon, and serious allergic reactions to contrast materials are rare.
OPPORTUNITY: Generic contrast media.
In the coming years, competition is expected to intensify greatly in the contrast media market due to the patent expiry of branded contrast media products. This will pave the way for the entry of generic counterparts, which are relatively lower-priced as compared to commercially available branded agents.
In developing countries, APIs are manufactured locally, which brings the overall production costs of manufacturing contrasts agents down. Hence, the patent expiry of various branded products and decreasing costs of manufacturing contrast agents are likely to offer lucrative opportunities for generic players.
CHALLENGE: Dearth of trained professional. A high degree of technical skill and expertise is required to handle advanced and sophisticated diagnostic imaging systems. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, radiology technicians may witness employment growth of about 7% between 2019 and 2029. Although this is significant, the dearth of specialists and radiologists will challenge market growth.
Iodinated Contrast Media Segment
The iodinated contrast media segment dominated the contrast media/contrast agents market in 2020. Based on type, the contrast media/contrast agents market is segmented into iodinated contrast media, gadolinium-based contrast media, microbubble contrast media and barum-based contrast media. Iodinated contrast media account for the largest share of the contrast media/contrast agents market. The large share of this segment can be attributed to the growing number of angioplasty procedures performed globally.
The cardiovascular disorders (CVD) segment is anticipated to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Cardiovascular disorders accounted for the largest market share and highest growth rate. The large share of this segment can be attributed to the rising geriatric population and the increasing prevalence of CVD across the globe.
North America Leads the Market
North America was the largest regional market for contrast media/contrast agents market in 2020. The global contrast media/contrast agents market is segmented into North America (the US and Canada), Europe (Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Rest of Europe), Asia Pacific (Japan, China, India and the Rest of Asia Pacific), Latin America, and Middle East and Africa. The large share of the North American market can be attributed to the presence of major players in the region, high prevalence of chronic disorders, growing geriatric population and the increasing adoption of minimally invasive procedures.