The pediatrics market is experiencing disruptions by gene therapy and virtual reality technologies, which are expected to define the market’s growth in the coming years. Gene therapy is being solicited by parents throughout the world for its ability to amplify a child’s immunity system and make it less susceptible to diseases. This is helping reduce unnecessary treatment and diagnosis of preventable diseases in children. Gene therapy can be of two types, namely ex vivo and in vivo and in the first few trials, it has emerged as a promising form of therapy for several diseases including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic granulomatous disease, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, thalassemia, and others. Pediatrics have also delved into virtual reality for improving healthcare for children. A study conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital succeeded at reducing children’s anxiety with the usage of virtual reality experiences, while doctors performed colonoscopies and endoscopies on them. The VR sets did not impede the medical staff’s workflow and instead, led to faster surgeries by reducing the time usually spent in the post-anesthesia care unit. During the forecast period of 2019-2025, the pediatrics market will grow at a CAGR of 5.2%. In 2018, the market was valued at $122 billion.

In terms of region, the pediatrics market is segmented into the Americas, APAC, Europe and rest of the world. The Americas have emerged as the market leader, holding an estimated share of 43% of the total revenue earned in 2018. There are several factors for this dominance, including Mexico’s battle against childhood obesity and contributions by Boston Children’s Hospital in the U.S. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes has emerged as the leading cause of death in Mexico, led by high consumption of sugary beverages in the country. Persistent obesity has led to the development of several chronic illnesses among children in the country, thereby contributing to pediatrics market growth in the region. Boston Children’s Hospital has been repeatedly felicitated for its collaboration with key players in the pediatrics market for applying innovative medical solutions towards curing life-threatening diseases. The hospital has a state-of-the-art research facility dedicated solely to pediatrics research. Developments such as this have resulted in the Americas leading the pediatrics market. Furthermore, the Brazillian Society of Pediatrics has also made commendable efforts in South America for improving child healthcare. One of the most recurring initiatives by the organization is regular training of medical professionals across South America in courses such as Basic Life Support and Pediatric Life Advanced Support.

Pediatrics Market: Growth Drivers

·  Financial Investments by Governments Worldwide

With incessantly rising statistics of infant deaths owing to diseases contracted during the early days of birth, governments of several countries have taken matter into their own hands by launching initiatives in educating people about evading illnesses. Furthermore, governments have also allotted a sizeable share of their financial year expenses towards child health, which contributes majorly towards a nation’s economy. The Indian government, for instance, has launched a plethora of initiatives that center on new mothers and infants. The ‘Mission Indhradhanush’ scheme aims to vaccinate every child by the end of 2020, against preventable diseases. A program of this stature is expected to result in mass eradication of diseases such as measles, polio, and others. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the U.S., which has been funded by the federal and states’ governments together, had 9.6 million children enrolled under it by 2018. This will work alongside Medicaid, a program which has insured millions of children undergoing healthcare issues in the U.S. Similarly, governments all around the world are focusing on improving child healthcare, which will drive the pediatrics market.

· Efforts by Non-Profit Organizations to Promote Pediatrics Market

Apart from government initiatives, non-profitable organizations have also contributed to the improvement of child health. Several non-profitable institutions across the world have been opened by common people working towards the cause of radically improving pediatrics. One of the world’s leading non-profit organizations is the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which has partnered with 190 countries and initiated country-specific programs. For instance, North America has been consistently facing a refugee crisis with displaced people from all around the world moving to the U.S. and Canada. Every year, several children become refugees and suffer from a plethora of diseases contracted while being displaced. To counter this, UNICEF has launched initiatives for vaccination and health checkups of these displaced children. In emerging nations, the organization has stepped up efforts for improving sanitation and provision of basic necessities for children such as clean drinking water, uncontaminated food, and others. In 1970, UNICEF launched ‘The Water Revolution’ project in collaboration with the Indian government and provided drilling rigs. It majorly helped in providing clean drinking water to children who were deprived of it. Similarly, many other organizations have made commendable efforts in bridging the gap between pediatric healthcare and children without access to it.

· Rising Illnesses in Infants Stroking Pediatrics Market

According to the WHO, approximately 6.3 million children aged under 15 years died in 2017. Of these, 2.5 million children did not survive even the first month of their births. These alarming statistics emphasize the necessity for vaccination and improvement of pediatrics in general. WHO and doctors all over the world have stressed on the importance of vaccines that could help prevent life-threatening childhood diseases. Moreover, poor and developing countries contribute a substantial share to increasing mortality. For example, with grave living conditions persisting in sub-Saharan Africa, children are fifteen times more likely to die there as compared to other countries. This has given rise to a need for improving medical and living conditions in other countries such as Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and others which are also rank noticeably low in sanitation and basic necessities of life. Owing to excessive poverty in a number of developing nations, children have poor or no access to healthy, nutritious food which has made malnutrition a top cause for infant and adolescent death. According to recent assessment on malnutrition conducted by UNICEF, nearly half of children deaths worldwide can be attributed to lack of proper nutrition. The lack of a nutritious diet reduces immunity in children, thus making them increasingly susceptible to common infections that can even prove fatal.

· Rising Incidences of Childhood Obesity Rooting for Innovation in Pediatrics Market

Though malnutrition is a persistent issue in developing countries where poor children are severely deprived of nutritious food, childhood obesity has spread epidemically from developed to even developing nations. Cultural environment and lifestyle changes are the major factors responsible for childhood obesity. The food and beverages industry has shifted its focus in the past decade towards production of packaged foods which often lack nutrients and have added sugar, which increases the calorific amount. With increasing penetration of technology into everyday lives, a decline has been observed in children’s physical activities. Obesity at a young age can lead to development of several chronic illnesses, and has a profoundly negative impact on health, preferences, and most importantly, emotional well-being. In the journal ‘Sports Sponsorships of Food and Nonalcoholic Beverages’, researchers studied the effect of sports sponsorships on children. Sugary beverages, one of the foods increasingly linked to childhood obesity, has been regularly marketed by sportspersons. Children, who idolize these stars, often become consumers of these beverages. Factors such as these have contributed to the increase in incidences of childhood obesity to a large extent.   

Trends and Innovations Impacting the Pediatrics Market

·         Advancement in Fetal Surgeries:

Technological advancements in medical imaging procedures are leading to increased numbers of fetal surgeries. A number of complications can occur during the gestation period which many doctors are now resorting to alter inside the womb. Enhanced diagnostic tools are helping doctors in assessing medical issues and intervening earlier, a trend that many hospitals have increasingly caught on to. In 2019, doctors at Cleveland Clinic performed their first surgery on a 23-week-old fetus, to repair a spina bifida. The child, a baby girl, was born without any spinal complications via caesarean delivery. Similarly, in 2018, doctors of Children’s Minnesota were able to remove 90% of the tumor present inside the heart of a fetus via pericardial teratoma surgery.

·         Introduction of Culinary Medicine

Children are often averse to medicines which has inspired health institutions to innovate and manufacture culinary medicine, which combines food with the science of medicine. These medicines are being majorly used for curing obesity or malnutrition among children. Some of the initiatives include the Charlie Cart Project at Memorial Health Dwaine, whose objective is to engage kids in ensuring that they learn about nutritional cooking while taking care of their health simultaneously. The project utilizes a mobile kitchen that is taken to schools, hospitals, and other institutions for demonstrations.

·         T-Cell Immunotherapy

Children who suffer from cancer often have to undergo three to four years of extensive chemotherapy which makes them miss out on regular activities such as going to school. In what is being considered a paradigm shift in medical research, T-cells immunotherapy are being used to cure cancers such as leukemia within two weeks. A dose of T-cells attack cancer cells in a way similar to a child’s immunity system. This has made treating cancer in children easier than before, and is helping reduce the medical costs incurred due to chemotherapy.

Major Pediatrics Market Companies

Key players in the pediatrics market have played an important role in enhancing diagnosis and treatment of illnesses pertaining to children and adolescents. These companies include Infinium Medical, Inc., Edwards Lifesciences, St. Jude Medical, Pediatric Bioscience, Inc., Quest Diagnostics Inc., Siemens Healthcare, Envision Radiology, GE Healthcare, Covidien Public Limited Company, Claritas Genomics, Inc., and Boston Scientific Corporation.

U.S.-based General Electric Healthcare has been working significantly in the field of pediatric healthcare. In 2016, GE Healthcare partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital to manufacture digital solutions on a commercial level. These solutions majorly catered to diseases that affected children and young adults, by obtaining imaging of their brain scans. GE Healthcare wished to provide more diagnostic accuracy to medical imaging as the fast-paced changes taking place inside children’s bodies makes it difficult for doctors to differentiate the dysfunctional from normal. This was implemented through GE Healthcare’s cloud service and with the pediatric expertise of Boston Children’s Hospital.

As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40,000 infants in the U.S. are born with a congenital heart defect and in most cases, they do not survive without undergoing a critical surgery. These statistics have been a primary research area for medical institutions, such as the California-headquartered Edwards Lifesciences LLC, which specializes in cardiac solutions for pediatric healthcare. In 2016, the company conducted the first trial of pulmonary valve replacement, named ‘COMMENCE’, that was developed by them. This was performed at Boston Children’s Hospital that caters to infants and children every single day, and collaborated with Edwards to launch this trial titled COMMENCE.

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