COVID-19 Impact on Disposable Medical Supplies in Healthcare Industry
The first case of COVID-19 Pandemic was found in Wuhan, China. This pandemic has influenced the whole planet with its major impacts on the economy and businesses across globe. The COVID-19 spread worldwide in unprecedented ways due to its high infectious and contagious nature and lack of availability of its vaccine. As a result, the greatest medical challenge in the 21st century is yet to be faced by physicians worldwide. Though emergence of the virus can be tracked back to Asia, many European countries along with U.S. have been struck massively by the pandemic. The virus has spread across all regions ranging from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa up to South America. The COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) due to its increased spread across the globe. After the declaration of the pandemic, various countries announced the complete lockdown such as the U.S., Germany, India and China among more in order to decrease its spread. The contagious nature of COVID-19 has increased the demand of disposable medical supplies like gloves, syringes, hypodermic needles and gowns among professionals of healthcare organizations. According to the weekly epidemiology report of 20 September 2020 by WHO stated 30.6 million cases of Coronavirus has been reported globally and 950 000patients are dead due to the Coronavirus. The outbreak of COVID-19 is having a huge impact on the healthcare industry majorly the disposable medical supplies.
IMPACT ON DEMAND
The COVID-19 pandemic has lifted the disposable medical supplies industry from its niche pedestal to the mainstream sector. Even before the pandemic, disposable medical supplies like surgical face masks, gowns, needles, syringes and other items have proved influential in ensuring first-line security against many nosocomial infections or communicable diseases in the hospitals or clinics. The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has further expanded the role of disposable medical supplies in various domains. Several companies operating in other domains are eager to enter and some have already entered the landscape of the disposable medical supplies especially for products like face masks, apron and gowns to increase their revenue by meeting the emergent need of protective equipment from the virus infection.
In May 2020, Bauer, a leading manufacturer of hockey equipment’s retooled its manufacturing in order to manufacture medical face shields for healthcare workers and people endangered due to the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic.
In March 2020, Dov Charney, a Los Angeles based apparel founder retooled its factory to produce surgical gowns and mask in order to meet the demand of protection gears for the frontline workers and health professionals in the hospitals.
Worldwide the surge in the demand of disposable medical supplies are observed due to the contagious nature of COVID-19 which could be spread via touch, mucous droplets, use of clothes among other. In order to prevent the spread of this pandemic worldwide not only healthcare professionals but the general public is making the use of surgical gloves, masks and disposable gowns. Moreover, as the effect of this virus is prominent on the respiratory tract, the number of patients with airways difficulties has significantly increased leading to growing demand for disposable NG tubes and tracheostomy tubes among other.
One of the major reason of the rising demand of disposable medical devices is the enforcement and upgradation of enforcement of infection prevention standards along with expanding volumes of ill patients in hospitals due to COVID-19. Also, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations like Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has recommended the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes face shield and face masks which are considered as disposable medical supplies. Since the effectiveness of protective equipment increases when both face masks and face shields are worn by the person, therefore they have been adopted in large number by people across globe. Nevertheless, face masks are thought to be more effective in alleviating the spread of respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, which will serve to eliminate droplets and eye spread. Many scientific studies have showed the high effectiveness of medical face shield in conjugation with the face masks. Therefore the significant rise in the demand of disposable products could be experienced by the key market players of the disposable medical supply market.
Among different types of disposable medical supplies, dialysis disposables are found to be flourishing in the market due to high frequency of therapeutic requirement as an emergent situation and the expanding prevalence of the end-stage renal disorders. Due to the situation of COVID-19, the diagnostic and laboratory testing’s has increased rapidly, which has accelerated the demand for diagnostic and laboratory disposables to great folds. Moreover, the fear of contamination has also surged the demand of disposable medical face masks and gloves. Since, the hotspot of COVID-19 pandemic was Asia-Pacific region; the disposable medical supplies market is most rapidly growing in this region.
Further rise in the demand of disposable medical supplies is due to the heavy penalties imposed by the government of various regions for the violation of safety regulations of covering their face. This have further escalated the demand and adoption of medical face masks by the workers in industries like chemical, construction, Oil & Gas, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing to prevent fatal accidents and occupational injuries at the workplace. The enormous benefits and application of disposable medical supplies in various industries along with its capability to provide full body protection and prevention from nosocomial and respiratory infections are anticipated to fuel the growth of disposable medical supplies market.
IMPACT ON SUPPLY
The COVID-19 situation has led to an overall disrupted supply chains for every market. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 and its subsequent impact on restrictions on trade and movement of goods has resulted in a shutdown of vast portions of the global economy, resulting in disrupted supply chains due to limited materials and workforce, and slowdown or stopping of manufacturing. However, several companies are retooling for priority manufacturing to produce essential medical supplies and equipment such as ventilators, face masks, gloves, aprons and medical face shields. The maximum companies which have retooled belong to the business like printing, upholstery and sewing among more. In this way, the supply of the emergent disposable medical supplies has been maintained by various regions.
The trade restrictions have left no choice but making domestic manufacturing of essential medical devices a necessity. During the pandemic, as the demand increases, counterfeiting and price gouging of imported goods increase as well. In order to meet the increasing demand of the people across globe various initiatives are being taken by the government, many companies and research institutes.
In March 2020, in Montreal, the companies which manufacture surgical garments meet their demand by importing the fabrics and gowns via air route rather than sea. Such type of transformation was done by the companies in order to manage the resulting shortage of medical supplies due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
As the Asia-Pacific market including China and nearby regions produced major chunk of the global supply of the protective medical gears, disposable medical supplies like syringes, needles, medical masks, gloves and gowns among other. The region being the hotspot has halted the supply chain in order to contain the outbreak of pandemic. In order to counter the sudden increase in demand for essential PPE products, disposable medical supplies, NG tubes, among others, the majority of countries have limited exports of these products to secure domestic supply needs during the health crisis. This restriction has caused major disruption of the supply chain in the market for disposable medical supplies across countries, especially those that are heavily dependent on medical imports. For example in the U.S. which was majorly dependent on China for its PPE products supply.
KEY INITIATIVES BY MARKET PLAYERS DURING COVID-19
In September 2020, ANSELL LTD. joined the TyvekTogether program launched by DuPont in order to produce Tyvek garments in order to increase its supply in the market to meet the demand of the frontline workers.
In June 2020, NITTO DENKO CORPORATION has taken the following initiatives to the community and society during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
The company made donation of surgical masks and face shields to the medical institutions and associations along with the donation of surgical masks to the local government.
The company has donated USD 100,000 to the UNICEF’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund. These initiatives taken by the company has increased its credibility in the market.
In April 2020, 3M India has increased its production of disposable medical supplies products such as surgical mask along with other essentials like sanitizer and respirators in order to meet the ever-increasing demand in the region.
In January 2020, Smiths Medical launched BLUselect tracheotomy tubes along with the BLUperc and BLUgriggs percutaneous tracheostomy kits and trays. These advanced product launched by the company increases its demand and sales in future.
The impact of the novel COVID-19 virus is expected to leave a long-lasting impact on each industrial sector. The outbreak of COVID-19 prompted citizens to deal with confusion regarding the virus and its management. The virus poses risk not just to human life but has caused economic distress and severe emotional strain. It produced a ripple effect that gave rise to a new collection of requirements and needs that were not needed earlier. Earlier the disposable medical supplies like masks, gloves and aprons were restricted to few medical which involves contagious substances and diseases among more. However, the highly contagious nature of virus and its ease of spread via droplets or even fomites to be known to some extent, the demand of disposable medical supplies have escalated in the market.
The growing prevalence of these infectious diseases has necessitated the need for a stable healthcare network and adequate emergency medical services (EMS). This has boosted spending in medical services around the globe. The highly contagious nature of the illness has necessitated the need of use of disposable medical products as any small error in sterilization of used products could pose challenge leading to fatal outcomes.
In addition, because disposable medical supplies such as masks, hypodermic needles, syringes, and applicators, among others, are discarded or disposed of after any use, they help mitigate the risk of hospital-acquired illnesses, needle stick accidents, and other communicable diseases that are more compounded by the already sick patients of COVID-19 in hospitals.
As the disposable medical supplies are indispensable part of healthcare, they are needed in every small procedures in the hospitals and the emergence of COVID-19 have significantly add to the demand of these medical supplies in order to contain the further spread of COVID-19. Thus, the revenue of the key market players of the disposable medical supplies will surge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to surging need of these products and the supply chain disruption due to import-export ban and major lockdown in various regions across globe, the key market players might have faced issues to fulfil the demand of the people across globe.
Despite the indication of a drug or vaccination on the horizon, the pandemic is here to live for a considerable amount of time. As a consequence, wearing surgical masks and apron along with the use of other disposable medical supplies would become a common trend thereby increasing the development and growth of disposable medical supplies market.