Hospital ‘Superbugs’ a Concern for Hospitals & Medical Device Firms

Healthcare Associated Infection, featured on outbreak of a hospital associated infection (HAI) known as CRE (carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae) has raised concerns about hospitals and the medical devices they use. However, it is often the case that a problem for one business is an opportunity for another. With hospital infections on the rise, there is now a focus on services that can help hospitals sterilize facilities and devices.

There have been other recent outbreaks of hospital infections, but this one is particularly dangerous because it is related to a medical device used at the hospital. Over 100 patients at Ronald Reagan Medical Center, part of UCLA, may have been exposed to deadly bacteria from infected duodenoscopes, and two deaths are linked to the outbreak. Kalorama Information, one of the market research publishers available on, recently published a study on the market for healthcare infection testing, prevention and treatment.  

The issue with the priority of prevention is seen in this study. The market for sterilizing healthcare facilities is $3.1 billion. The market for treating the infections that result when procedures are not followed is more than $10 billion. Kalorama Information’s report calculates the market for all of the industries using primary and secondary research sources. Some of the market opportunities in helping healthcare firms deal with HAIs include: testing, sterilization of devices and facilities, and disinfection of facilities. There is a market as well for the remaining superdrugs that are still effective against HAIs. While the list of drugs that can be effective is declining, new drugs are also in development.   

The issue is serious for patients who seek healthcare treatment to get better and end up acquiring new threats, and for Medicare, concerned with funding care provision only to lead to new costs. Clostridium Difficile (c.diff), Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), and Vancomycin-Intermediate/Resistant Staphylococcus are among the types of infections too often found in healthcare settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes. Worldwide, the rate of nosocomial or healthcare-related, infections is between 3.5% and 12% of admissions in developed regions. This has created a market opportunity for companies that can test for, treat and help prevent these infections.

Part of the problem behind HAIs is the use of antibiotics and the reuse of devices. On the positive side, antibacterials and antifungals have turned bacterial infections into treatable conditions rather than killers. But, their strength is waning dramatically, as more and more types of bacteria resist treatment. Reusable devices have saved healthcare providers and governments millions, but their use means that procedures must be followed to ensure no infection is transmitted. In the case of the UCLA outbreak, an instrument known as a duodenoscope appears to be the infection source. The FDA issued a safety communication focusing on proper cleaning of the specific type of endoscope used, duodenoscope, and the design complexity which may impede effective reprocessing of the device.

The FDA indicated that from January 2013 through December 2014, a total of 75 reports were made to the administration, involving 135 patients in the U.S. for possible microbial transmission from reprocessed duodenoscopes. Additional precautions can be implemented to ensure patients are at the lowest risk possible for coming in contact with pathogens. Sterilizing and disinfecting the reprocessing equipment, instruments in the health facility, the equipment, furniture, and all areas of patient and healthcare worker contact provide the best approach to preventing the spread of infection. This, in combination with proper hand washing techniques and procedures, screening and diagnosing, using low-risk equipment, all play a vital role in this fight.  

The Kalorama Information report, Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) Control Markets, addresses the market opportunities for controlling infections in the health facility and focuses on resistant health infections such as CRE. For more inforrmation, check out Kalorama Information's full report.

Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) Control Markets  ➨

Thanks for reading!

Bruce Carlson
Kalorama Information

Topics: Healthcare Medical Devices Kalorama Information