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The diagnostic marketplace in 1990.

The U.S. market for in vitro diagnostic testing products will more than double between now and 1990, according to one firm that industry and reference laboratories rely on for long-range strategic planning consultation. While every kind of testing site will share in the growth, the breakdown of increases predicted by boston Biomedical Consultants may surprise you.

For example, in constant 1983 dollars, hospital laboratories are seen spending 11 per cent more per year on diagnostic products. On the other hand, sales to independent labs will climb at a rate of only 6 per cent. Clinics and physicians' offices are tagged for hefty growth rates in product consumption--19 and 16 per cent, respectively--but that's a widely anticipated trend. Another area of ambulatory care, however, is often overlooked: patient self-testing. Boston Biomedical looks for this area to start soaring in the next several years, with annual product sales increases on the order of 27 per cent.

Figure I shows how much of the diagnostic products market each of these segments accounted for last year and how much they will account for in 1990. The dollar totals cover assays for full-service labs; kits for emergency rooms, intensive care units, physicians' offices, clinics, and home use; and DNA probe products.

Note that the relative standings among testing sites won't change drastically by 1990, in the consulting firm's view. Hospital labs will lose just 2 percentage points from their current predominant position as diagnostic product customers and will still account for roughly two-thirds of all sales by manufacturers. Other kinds of testing sites may demonstrate greater growth, but they begin from a much smaller volume base.

The projections were presented at the recent American Association for Clinical Chemistry meeting in Washington, D.C. Henry M. Weinert, president of Boston Biomedical, says DRGs will encourage more laboratory testing at hospitals. Lab work will be needed both to determine the patient's diagnostic classification and to help decide how quickly the patient can be discharged. "Diagnostic testing is a very effective way for the hospital to manage shorter patient stays," he notes. "It also will be used a lot before the patient is admitted to make sure taht he or she qualifies for admission."

With hospital laboratories seeking more outpatient business--capitalizing in part on the loyalty of their attending phsicians--and physicians' offices stepping up their testing activity, independent labs will slow down in growth, Weinert says. The presidents of large reference labs were bullish about their prospects in the DRG era when interviewed for our April 1984 cover story, but Weinert can't see any significant new markets opening up for them.

As for that rapidly growing home test market segment, Weinert says it will involve ethical products for the most part, employed by patients under the guidance of physicians. Monitoring of chronic disease conditions (such as whole blood glucose test strips used by diabetic patients at present) and of aggressive therapy (theophylline test strips at present) hold strong potential for volume gains. Pregnancy and ovulatory time test kits, which may be purchased without a prescription, are also part of the home market.

He observes that a good deal of "gloom and doom" has been voiced about the overall outlook for diagnostic testing. The future looks much brighter to him.
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Title Annotation:medical laboratory in vitro diagnostic testing products
Author:Fitzgibbon, Robert J.
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:editorial
Date:Oct 1, 1984
Words:542
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