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Opportunities and challenges in China’s wound care market

Globally, millions of people suffer from trauma and burns as a result of accidents, natural disasters and violence. In China, injury is the fifth leading cause of death, while an increasingly ageing population means a growing proportion of China’s people are particularly prone to acquiring wounds. Many more acquire chronic, non-healing wounds due to complications from diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, which are projected to rise dramatically in the coming years. 

High expenditure and limited treatment availability means public health problems in the country have been exacerbated. However, solutions are beginning to develop.

Tackling the problem

Mirroring global trends, wound therapies have steadily advanced to treat patients more effectively and comprehensively in China. Novel formats address all aspects of wound treatment including initial wound closure, debridement, cleansing, moisture absorption and retention, as well as physical protection, and infection prevention and control. 

More advanced products such as novel biosurgery hemostatic agents, robotic devices for wound closure, tissue-engineered skin substitutes, and state-of-the-art wound measurement devices are playing an increasing role in wound healing.

The market in China

China is a fast-growing region. The country still has many emerging and developing markets where patients don’t necessarily have access to basic wound care. As such, even essential materials like synthetic sutures have not been utilised to date across the country. Standard treatments such as sutures, traditional wound dressings, and wound debridement devices are continuing to gain acceptance in the rural areas that have poor healthcare access. Due to expansion in insurance coverage for more Chinese and increasing primary healthcare facilities, the market for these basic wound therapies in China is going to grow faster than the global average. 

Advanced wound dressings and the negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) market expanded quickly, driven primarily by increasing awareness of the technique and its various applications. However, these devices cannot be reimbursed and patients have to pay out-of-pocket in many provinces, which affects the product penetration.

As healthcare purchasing in China is always cost-sensitive, proper pricing strategies for advanced dressings and NPWT devices are a key to win the market. For example, disposable NPWT devices are an emerging technology in this space. These are expected to see rapid adoption due to expanding indications including surgical incisions, as well as their drastically reduced costs.

An increasing trend of government-driven price management and reimbursement controls, as well as more government initiatives to help local manufacturers access a bigger share of the local market, the growth of international players may decelerate. Moreover, China has become more proactive with respect to regulatory requirements, which hinders the novel wound therapies market. Despite these challenges, according to GlobalData, the wound care management market in China, valued at $3.3bn in 2018, is expanding at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.2% to reach $5.1bn in 2025.

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