Best Herbal Extracts

The Magnificent Global Expansion of Hyaluronic Acid

Eye Care

It is amazing to see the pace and consistency with which Hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan, hyaluronate, or HA) is gaining increased global recognition and popularity. According to some estimates, only the HA viscosupplementation (a direct joint application) market alone will grow to nearly $2.5 billion by 2017. There are surely good reasons for that incredible progress. Nowadays medical research advancements and new understanding of the biological roles of HA in the body have triggered even more market interest, despite the regulatory pressure.

After its official approval by the FDA for an injectable intraarticular treatment (applied locally in the joint) nearly a decade ago, it is now proven that HA is without side effects and is very well-tolerated by the patient. The alternative osteoarthritis treatment with corticosteroids often causes a range of side effects such as rapid heart rate, flushed face, sleeplessness, etc. Among the other major advantages of this local treatment is that it is shorter and convenient for the patient and the physician. It provides effective long-term pain relief, reportedly continuing up to several years in some cases. Non-knee clinical trials are conducted to provide research support for exploring single-injection treatments in other joints. It is predicted that apart from knee use, there will be a shift toward using this treatment for other joints in the body – e.g. shoulder, hip, ankle, and hand.

Like many herbal extracts products, HA-based materials and supplements have conquered a wide range of applications in the healthcare and cosmetic industries. The biomaterials have been used to relieve the pain of knee osteoarthritis, in cataracts, and abdominal and pelvic surgeries, for post-surgery tissue healing, and as a filler to erase facial wrinkles.

North America is considered the largest and fastest-growing market for HA visco-supplementation. On the other hand, the number of people above 65 years is expected to reach 71 million in 2020 in the United States. Unfortunately, people in this age group are more susceptible to the incidence of not only osteoarthritis, but also cataracts, and facial wrinkles. Apart from the aging population, the rising global rates of obesity are also pointed as an additional HA market growth driver. European and other countries such as Brazil, Japan, India, China, Taiwan, and South Korea are expected to demonstrate significant growth in the global HA products market due to the availability of cheaper treatment, better reimbursement policies, and the increase in new product approvals.

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