Sterilization is an integral part of medical packaging that provides a strong barrier against bacterial or microbial transmission. Sterile medical packaging is typically non-reusable and safeguard the medical or pharmaceutical product against contamination, moisture, heat, and damage caused by harsh environmental conditions during storage and transportation. This type of medical packaging is specially designed in compliance with the highest packaging standards in the medical sector, such as PSO9000 and ISO9000. Sterile medical packaging is characterized by enhanced durability, robust tear resistance, extended shelf life, and superior microbial barrier. It is generally made of materials such as plastic (including PVC, HDPE, LDPE, etc.), glass, metal (such as aluminum foil), and paperboard. The demand for plastic-based sterile medical packaging has risen significantly, owing to the advantages offered by materials like HDPE, such as high drug compatibility, enhanced moisture resistance, and effective chemical resistance. For instance, Tyvek®, which is a synthetic material made from spunbound HDPE fibers, is widely used as packaging for medical products like sterile trays, pouches, and surgical gloves due to its lightweight, superior breathability, biocompatibility, and moisture and abrasion resistance.
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Dynamics Drivers: Rapidly increasing use of sterile medical packaging in the medical sector
The global sterile medical packaging market growth is significantly fuelled by the rising applications of sterile medical packaging solutions in the healthcare sector. The healthcare industry extensively utilizes single-use medical products and equipment, including bandages, syringes, gloves, needles, IV and blood containers, testing kits, and face masks, which require enhanced sterility to avoid bacterial transmissions and infections from patient to patient. The rising prevalence of acute and chronic diseases, growing number of surgical procedures being performed worldwide, and the increasing need for advanced outpatient healthcare facilities, have propelled the demand for sterile medical packaging. Moreover, the rising focus on patient health & safety and increasing government initiatives to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases have further bolstered the global market growth. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the global sterile medical packaging market growth positively, with the significantly rising demand for enhanced hygiene and sterility in medical packaging to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the deadly infection.
Restraints: Rigid regulatory norms for sterile medical packaging predicted to hamper the market growth
The growth of the global sterile medical packaging market is challenged by the stringent regulations imposed by regulatory bodies for the sterile packaging of medical equipment. These complex standards, such as the ES ISO 11607, require the packed medical products to undergo several vital processes, such as design testing and material selection, to evaluate their safety and sterility. These standards also ensure the product’s integrity is maintained throughout the storage, transportation, and supply cycles. However, manufacturers often fail to comply with such packaging standards, usually due to lack of skills and resources. Therefore, instances like these majorly affect the market growth.
Based on type, the global sterile medical packaging market is segmented into thermoform trays, sterile bottles, sterile closures, vials & ampoules, pre-filled syringes, bags & pouches, blisters & clamshells, and other types. The thermoform trays segment is poised to emerge as the fastest-growing segment over the estimated period. The versatility, flexibility, and biocompatibility of these trays make them highly suitable for medical use. These trays offer high protection against damage or breakage during storage and transportation. Moreover, these trays are highly customizable, as they can be molded into different sizes and shapes using the thermoforming process.
Based on material, the global sterile medical packaging market is segmented into plastic, glass, metal, paper & paperboard, and others. The plastic segment is projected to dominate the global market over the forecast years in terms of revenue. The extensive use of various high-performance polymers, including HDPE, LDPE, PVC, and PET, in the manufacture of vials & ampoules, pre-filled syringes, blood containers, bottles, pouches, and bags, owing to their superior moldability and protection against microbial contamination and external damage is a key factor bolstering the growth of this segment.
In terms of application, the global sterile medical packaging market is segmented into surgical & medical equipment, pharmaceutical & biological, medical implants, others. The pharmaceutical & biological application segment is set to emerge as the leading segment in the coming years, with the highest revenue share. The surging incidence of infectious diseases worldwide, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the growing rate of hospital admissions, and the increasing shipments of pharmaceutical products boost this segment’s growth.
Sterile Medical Packaging Market: Regional Analysis
The global sterile medical packaging market consists of several key regions, including North America, Europe, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, and the Middle East & Africa. The North America sterile medical packaging market held the most dominant market position in 2020 and is poised to maintain its leading stance throughout the forecast timeframe. The U.S. stands out as the leading contributor to the North America market growth due to the presence of state-of-the-art healthcare infrastructure in the country. The rapid spread of contagious diseases, such as the novel coronavirus infection, the expanding pharmaceutical sector, growing awareness of the significance of public hygiene, and augmented expenditure on healthcare are some of the pivotal factors fuelling the market growth in this region. Technological advancements in medical packaging techniques and increasing initiatives by the U.S. FDA to promote sustainable pharmaceutical packaging solutions further boost the North America market growth.
Companies Profiled in the Report:
GS Medical Packaging
Oliver Healthcare Packaging
West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.
Riverside Medical Packaging Company Ltd.
In December 2020, specialty medical packaging company Spectrum Plastics Group acquired PeelMaster Medical Packaging Corporation to leverage its advanced sterile flexible packaging technology.
In December 2020, Airnov Healthcare Packaging introduced an all-new range of highly protective barrier bottles, under the OXYNOV brand, for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products. The new 6-layer bottles are made using the extrusion-blow-molding (EBM) technology and provide a strong barrier to moisture. These bottles also help prevent oxygen-sensitive drugs and products from degradation.
Sterile Medical Packaging Market Segmentation:
For the purpose of this report, the global sterile medical packaging market has been segmented based on type, material, application, sterilization method, and region:
By Type (Revenue, USD Billion; 2018-2028)
Vials & ampoules
Bags & pouches
Blister & clamshells
By Material (Revenue, USD Billion; 2018-2028)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Paper & paperboard
By Application (Revenue, USD Billion; 2018-2028)
Surgical & medical equipment
Pharmaceutical & biological
In vitro diagnostic products
By Sterilization Method (Revenue, USD Billion; 2018-2028)
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