Plastics for Medical Devices

Published - Jul 2003| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS009D
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Report Highlights

  • The medical plastics market will rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 4.3% through 2008, from 2.2 billion pounds in 2002 to almost 2.9 billion pounds.
  • Disposable medical devices comprise about 60% of the total application volume.
  • Commodity thermoplastics represent just 50% of total product volume.
  • A slight shift to engineering resins, styrenics, thermosets and TPEs is forecast at the expense of commodity thermoplastics.



The objective of this study is to analyze current and future North American markets for medical plastics, excluding medical packaging.


Plastics usage in the healthcare field encompasses several distinct markets-predominantly applications for medical devices and related products, and for packaging. Market research studies in the past have often combined these two applications, which does not benefit companies exclusively involved in either medical devices or in medical packaging.

This study will cover plastics usage in medical devices that have sustained average annual growth rates far in excess of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The aging of the U.S. population, continuing cost reduction pressures in the healthcare field, advances in polymer performance, introduction of new and often life-saving devices, and the ever-present environmental/disposable/nondisposable medical device triad warrant an in-depth study as we continue into this decade.


This report will be somewhat different from previous BCC studies, which have focused on materials such as resins and elastomers. This report will treat only the medical device industry. All industry and market information will be updated, and more definitive and detailed market estimates will be provided.

The changing face of the medical device industry, new types of medical devices, legislative/regulatory and environmental issues, new products and technologies related to medical devices, sterilization techniques and impact on polymer selection, polymer usage in medical devices, the status of PVC, and medical plastics product lines and trade named products are some of the topics that are covered.


An extensive review was undertaken of trade and technical literature on plastics use in medical devices. Following the collection and analysis of this data, unresolved issues were discussed with polymer producers, compounders and medical device manufacturers. The word "millions" is often abbreviated as "MM," and average growth rates are annually compounded. All tables not sourced from BCC, Inc. were extracted from a variety of trade literature sources.


The following is a list of plastic-related acronyms used in this report:

ABS          Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene terpolymer

COPEs      Copolyester elastomer

EAA          Ethylene acrylic acid

EMA          Ethylene methylacrylate

EVA          Ethylene-vinyl-acetate

HDPE        High-density polyethylene

HIPS        High-impact polystyrene

LCP          Liquid crystal polymers

LDPE        Low-density polyethylene

LLDPE       Linear low-density polyethylene

m-           Metallocene

PBT          Poly(butylene terephthalate)

PC            Polycarbonate

PC/ABS    Polycarbonate-ABS alloy/blend

PC/PET     Polycarbonate-PET alloy/blend

PE            Polyethylene

PEEK        Polyetheretherketone

PEI          Polyetherimides

PET          Poly(ethylene terephthalate)

PP            Polypropylene

PPO          Poly(phenylene oxide)

PUR         Polyurethanes

PVC         Polyvinyl chloride

SAN         Styrene acrylonitrile

SBC         Styrene block copolymer

SPS         Syndiotactic polystyrene

TPE         Thermoplastic elastomer

TPO        Thermoplastic olefin

TPU        Thermoplastic urethane

TPV        Thermoplastic vulcanizates

ULDPE    Ultra low-density polyethylene

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Published - Mar-2000| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS009C

Report Highlights

  • The medical plastics market will reach almost 1.98 billion pounds by the end of 1999 and will grow at an annual rate of about 6%, consuming more than 2.6 billion pounds by 2004. Nondisposables comprise slightly more than 50% of total volume.
  • Commodity thermoplastics dominate the market with a little under 50% of total volume.
  • The Engineering resins market will grow at an annual rate of about 6.5%, consuming more than 0.3 billion pounds by 2004.


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