Point-of-care testing market doubled over 6 years

The market for point-of-care (POC) tests has almost doubled from 2003 to 2009, according to a new report published by Kalorama Information. With the ability to help reduce healthcare costs while simultaneously improving patient care, POC tests represent a significant and growing share of the global in vitro diagnostics (IVD) market, according to Kalorama.

In its report Worldwide Point of Care Diagnostic Test Markets, Kalorama values the market for combined over-the-counter and professional applications of point-of-care testing at $13.3 billion worldwide in 2009.

The growth in POC sales, which is projected to continue at 6 percent annually through 2014, is largely related to significant increases in glucose self-testing of diabetics, and to various professional test segments including critical care and cardiac markers. Other contributing factors include the globalization of infectious diseases with the associated public health issues, and the need to monitor an ever-growing group of people with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and cancer.

POC tests (with the exception of the diabetes segment) have not achieved the 15-20 percent market growth predicted in the late 1990s. But they have made a significant contribution to patient care and the total POC testing market has nevertheless increased its market share in the United States and Europe from 25 percent of the IVD market in 2003 to 30 percent in 2009, according to Kalorama.

"As the largest single market for IVD and POC products, the U.S. has an enormous impact on how the rapid test industry develops," says Shara Rosen, Kalorama Information's lead diagnostics analyst and author of the report. "Managed care's obsession with cost reductions is pushing the need for decentralized testing in the home, at the bedside and in the physician's office."

The market for POC tests is highly diversified and, for the most part, a different set of companies is active in each sub-segment. Overall, more than 70 companies are active in POC markets. However with successive rounds of market consolidation and the emergence of Alere (formerly Inverness Medical Innovations) as a major POC vendor, Kalorama estimates that 27 companies held 94 percent of the world market for POC tests in 2009.