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Reimbursement Cuts Will Challenge Japanese Interventional Cardiology Device Market

Wed, 04/03/2013 - 8:00am
The Associated Press

According to Millennium Research Group (MRG), the global authority on medical technology market intelligence, prices of interventional cardiology devices in Japan will see significant declines through 2021. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) is implementing reimbursement cuts every two years in an effort to align Japanese medtech prices with the global market. As a result, most devices, including new products on the market, will see total revenue loss despite increases in use.

The Japanese interventional cardiology device market has seen many recent product launches, particularly stents, and a number of next-generation devices are set to launch over the next ten years.

Although bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVS) and next-generation drug-eluting stents (DES) are premium devices and will see strong adoption upon entry to the market, the reimbursement cuts will limit prices and impede profits for these products as well.

"The effects of MHLW reimbursement won't be entirely negative," said MRG Analyst Louise Murphy. "Reimbursement coverage by device will encourage physicians to adopt premium devices over standard devices.

Despite the biennial cuts, premium devices will maintain higher prices and better reimbursement rates than standard devices, such as bare-metal stents (BMS), and will allow manufacturers to somewhat offset aggregate price declines." In addition, MHLW coverage of fractional flow reserve (FFR) guidewires was recently expanded to include use in diagnostic procedures, and this offers a huge growth opportunity. Because physicians are reimbursed by device rather than procedure, this expansion has removed barriers to adoption of FFR as a decision-making tool. In fact, the intravascular imaging catheter and pressure guidewire market will be the only segment to expand overall through 2021.

Major competitors in the FFR guidewire space, including Volcano and St. Jude Medical, continue to focus on innovation in an effort to gain market share. This strategy is more difficult for smaller companies, given the high cost of entering the market and the shrinking profit margins in the wake of MHLW reimbursement reform. Therefore, the major players in this market are likely to maintain their lead.

Millennium Research Group's Japanese Markets for Interventional Cardiology Devices 2013 report includes unit, procedure, average selling price and revenue information, along with market drivers and limiters and a competitive landscape for coronary stents, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) balloon catheters, accessory devices, and intravascular imaging catheters and pressure guidewires in Japan.

About Millennium Research Group
Millennium Research Group (www.MRG.net), a Decision Resources Group company (www.DecisionResourcesGroup.com), is the global authority on medical technology market intelligence and the leading provider of strategic information to the healthcare sector. The company provides specialized industry expertise through multiclient market research, ongoing MarketrackT projects, customer loyalty tracking, facility-level procedure forecasting, and customized solutions.

About Decision Resources Group
Decision Resources Group is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information, and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources Group at www.DecisionResourcesGroup.com.

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