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Will MHLW Changes in Reimbursement Drive Japanese Physicians to Increase Usage of Chronic Dialysis Catheters?

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 10:34am
Bio-Medicine.Org

TORONTO, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Millennium Research Group (MRG), the global authority on medical technology market intelligence, changes in Japan's Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare (MHLW) reimbursement, which encourage facilities to use higher-priced chronic dialysis catheters, will lead to double-digit growth in this segment over the next five years, and will support overall market revenues.

Unlike in the US and Europe, where chronic dialysis catheters have seen strong adoption, Japanese physicians have long preferred acute catheters, which accounted for nearly 98% of unit sales in 2009. Physicians in Japan prefer the less invasive procedure involved with inserting an acute catheter, due in part to a strong cultural aversion to invasive procedures, which would be required by a chronic catheter placement. Because acute dialysis catheters are less expensive than chronic dialysis catheters, their historical popularity has limited potential dialysis catheter revenues in Japan.

"As a result of the strong physician preference for acute dialysis catheters, compounded with pricing declines in this segment, the Japanese dialysis catheter market shrank in 2009," says April Lee, Analyst at MRG.  "This market will, however, grow through 2014, partly due to the MHLW's implementation of a new procedural reimbursement that provides hospitals with an incentive to perform the chronic dialysis catheter insertions."

In addition to favorable changes in reimbursement, chronic dialysis catheters offer several benefits, including increased longevity, compared to acute catheters.  They allow physicians to access the super vena cava directly rather than through the peripheral veins, which is advantageous for elderly patients who tend to have weaker peripheral vasculature. Consequently, chronic dialysis catheters will be increasingly adopted as a temporary form of vascular access. Because these devices are expensive compared to acute di

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