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Will MHLW Changes in Reimbursement Drive Japanese Physicians to Increase Usage of Chronic Dialysis Catheters?

TORONTO, Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Millennium Research Group (MRG), the global authority on medical technology market intelligence, changes in Japan's Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare (MHLW) reimbursement, which encourage facilities to use higher-priced chronic dialysis catheters, will lead to double-digit growth in this segment over the next five years, and will support overall market revenues.

Unlike in the US and Europe, where chronic dialysis catheters have seen strong adoption, Japanese physicians have long preferred acute catheters, which accounted for nearly 98% of unit sales in 2009. Physicians in Japan prefer the less invasive procedure involved with inserting an acute catheter, due in part to a strong cultural aversion to invasive procedures, which would be required by a chronic catheter placement. Because acute dialysis catheters are less expensive than chronic dialysis catheters, their historical popularity has limited potential dialysis catheter revenues in Japan.

"As a result of the strong physician preference for acute dialysis catheters, compounded with pricing declines in this segment, the Japanese dialysis catheter market shrank in 2009," says April Lee, Analyst at MRG.  "This market will, however, grow through 2014, partly due to the MHLW's implementation of a new procedural reimbursement that provides hospitals with an incentive to perform the chronic dialysis catheter insertions."

In addition to favorable changes in reimbursement, chronic dialysis catheters offer several benefits, including increased longevity, compared to acute catheters.  They allow physicians to access the super vena cava directly rather than through the peripheral veins, which is advantageous for elderly patients who tend to have weaker peripheral vasculature. Consequently, chronic dialysis catheters will be increasingly adopted as a temporary form of vascular access. Because these devices are expensive compared to acute dialysis catheters, their increasing adoption will support prices and revenues through 2014. Although chronic catheter adoption is awakening in Japan, the country shows no signs of adopting antimicrobial-coated devices, which are gaining popularity in other regions due to their ability to reduce infection rates. Antimicrobial devices were released in Japan in 2000, but several patients died as a result of severe adverse reactions to the coatings.  As a result, the MHLW removed the devices from the market and they have not been reintroduced.

MRG's Japanese Markets for Vascular Access Devices 2010 report provides critical insight into trends that will fuel market growth for short peripheral intravenous catheters, central venous catheters, implantable ports, dialysis catheters, and peripherally inserted central catheters through 2014.  

About Millennium Research GroupMillennium Research Group (, a Decision Resources, Inc. company (, is the global authority on medical technology market intelligence and the leading provider of strategic information to the healthcare sector. The company provides specialized industry expertise through multiclient market research, ongoing Marketrack™ projects, customer behavior tracking, facility-level procedure forecasting, and customized solutions.

About Decision Resources, Inc.Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information, and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at

All company, brand, or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.For more information, contact:Amy KrohnMillennium Research Group416-364-7776 ext. 101akrohn@mrg.netChris ComfortDecision Resources, Inc.

SOURCE Millennium Research Group
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