U.S. predicted to adopt premium IOLs more quickly than Europe, Japan

December 2, 2007

Waltham, MA-The U.S. ophthalmic market will embrace the use of premium IOLs rapidly, whereas less flexible reimbursement programs in Europe and Japan will delay the adoption of them in those markets, the Millennium Research Group (MRG) has forecast.

Waltham, MA-The U.S. ophthalmic market will embrace the use of premium IOLs rapidly, whereas less flexible reimbursement programs in Europe and Japan will delay the adoption of them in those markets, the Millennium Research Group (MRG) has forecast.

In many European countries, cataract procedures are reimbursed at a fixed amount and, therefore, premium IOLs are used only in procedures paid for with out-of-pocket funds, according to MRG. By comparison, in the United States, IOLs that have been granted new technology IOL reimbursement status receive additional Medicare reimbursement of $50 per lens for procedures performed in ambulatory surgical centers.
 
In Japan, said Cheyne Singh, an analyst at MRG, “advanced IOL technology has had slow adoption . . . mainly because of low reimbursement rates and a slow approval process. Many industry insiders consider the Japanese medical device regulatory approval process to be costly, time-consuming, and a major hindrance in developing the Japanese IOL market.”

Other predictions made by MRG, based on its research:

• The U.S. IOL market will surpass $980 million in sales in 2011, compared with $458 million in Europe and Japan combined.

• The U.S. market for IOLs is expected to grow significantly over the next 5 years, based on the growth of advanced IOL technology. Sales of lenses to address presbyopia and those with aspheric optic profiles will grow significantly due to heavy marketing campaigns by their manufacturers, the introduction of new lenses, and increased training of surgeons to implant such IOLs.

• The future growth of the European market for premium IOLs is highly contingent on a price reduction by manufacturers or increased reimbursement. As a result, the market for less costly traditional monofocal lenses (those made of hydrophobic, hydrophilic, silicone, or polymethylmethacrylate material) will remain strong in Europe over the next 5 years.

• The use of hydrophobic IOLs in Japan will increase over the next 5 years. In 2007, the majority of cataract procedures in Japan were performed using lenses made of that material.

• The Japanese IOL market also will gain considerable value from the increasing use of premium-priced, preloaded IOL injector systems.