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U.S. Medical Foods Market Is Worth $1.3 Billion

Little-Known Niche Healthcare Market To Grow As Population Ages


"Medical foods is an emerging niche market with huge potential for growth."

Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher of “off-the-shelf” studies about service industries since 1979, has published a new report about the “medical foods” market and its competitors.
Medical foods are custom made liquid solutions used enterally, to treat people with Alzheimers, depression, PTSD, osteoporosis, oncology patients, kidney dialysis patients, and infants with NEC/colitis. They are obtained via pharmacies—not retail. They are not FDA regulated like drugs but must meet GRAS standards.
“While medical foods are gaining more widespread acceptance, they remain poorly understood by patients, pharmacists and physicians. Dieticians and nurses are generally familiar with medical foods, but most doctors and specialists are not. Most doctors in the U.S. have not heard of the term ’medical food’ and don’t know that it is a distinct, FDA-regulated category.“, according to Research Director, John LaRosa.
The United States is the pioneer of medical foods, where the term is more readily understood than in the rest of the world. Unlike dietary supplements, medical foods require strong scientific support to meet the medical food criteria. This means the benefits of the medical foods have to be proven in clinical trials. Medical foods were first developed in the 1950s, originally designed for those with genetic disease patients that could not handle certain nutrients.
Major Report Findings

  • The medical foods market in the U.S. is estimated to be worth $1.3 billion in 2015. Future growth to 2020 is estimated at an average annual rate of 6.5% per year, but could grow much faster with the growth of customized medicine and if the category gets more exposure, greater insurance reimbursement, and the producers can collect solid outcome data.
  • Regarding threats to the medical foods industry, one is that the market is currently dominated by a small number of large companies, with large patent portfolios.  This acts as a barrier to entry for new innovators.
  • Medical foods will continue to grow in importance over the coming years. There is an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases that are candidates for treatment with amino acid based medical foods, such as: depression, sleep disorders, posttraumatic stress disorders, obesity, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia.
  • This is an emerging market that needs more education and movement into mainstream medicine, as well as more exposure and marketing.  There is no industry trade association or conference. There have been some cases of companies trying to sell the products retail, circumventing the more accepted method of obtaining a doctor’s prescription.
  • Marketdata estimates that there are 29 producers of medical foods, with the lion’s share of the market captured by the likes of Nestle Health Sciences, Abbott Laboratories and Mead-Johnson.
  • As a therapeutic category, medical food is distinct from both drugs and dieatry supplements. Labels must include the phrase, “to be used under medical supervision,” as medical foods are produced under rigid manufacturing practices and maintain high labeling standards.Medical foods must make health claims and must provide clinical evidence to support those claims.
  • The main distribution points or target markets include: primary care physicians, specialist MDs and prescribing nurses, registered dietitians, mail order pharmacies, long-term care facilities, specialty and regular hospitals, and home care services.
  • The majority of competitive participation is in developed regions such as the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan. However, many companies are expanding into less developed regions, intensifying competition in less tapped markets--China, for example.

About The Study
The U.S. Medical Foods Market is a 91-page independent market research report, published in July 2015. The report contains 16 tables and charts and 29 competitor profiles and covers: a definition and overview of the market, the major products, key trends and issues, obstacles to growth, industry regulation and FDA actions, factors affecting growth, profiles of various end-user disease groups, distribution channels, analysis of manufacturer operating procedures, the role of MDs and pharmacists, market size for 2011, 2015, and 2020 forecast, and in-depth profiles of all the top competitors. The price of the study is $995.
A Table of Contents may be found on Marketdata’s website, or emailed to interested parties. The report can be ordered online at the Marketdata website or by calling 813-907-9090 or 813-971-8080, M-F. John LaRosa, Research Director, is available for interviews.
About Marketdata Enterprises
Marktdata is a 36-year analyst of various healthcare and niche markets, since 1989. The company publishes multi-client market and industry studies, performs custom research and consulting projects, holds teleconferences, seminars, and  webinars, and has independently tracked a wide variety of healthcare sectors, including medical foods, medical labs, pain management programs, medical marijuana, fertility clinics, weight loss programs, medical spas, and the insomnia market, among others.

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