Orthopedics to grow 8% in 2010?

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Bernstein analyst Derrick Sung sees the U.S. hip and knee market growing 6 percent in the fourth quarter and recovering to 8 percent in 2010 due to easier comparisons with the prior year, pent-up demand and new products.  While 2009 was tumultuous due to economic challenges, the future was also bleak based on the high unemployment figures which have directly affected the elective procedures. Looming healthcare reform has also seemed to play a significant role in lower growth as patients think “Why get the procedure done now and pay the co-pays/deductibles when I can get it done for free in a year?”

Recently Massachusetts elected a Republican to fill the long held seat of Senator Ted Kennedy and eliminated the Democrats stronghold against the filibuster, putting a cloud of doubt over the President’s hopes of forcing his healthcare plan through.

The report also highlights new products as a factor that should make 2010 a growth year. It seems that some companies tried to save cash during the last year by reducing their staff levels which should make it more difficult to bring several new products to market. Are we going to see fewer products come to market during 2010 or 2011? Or will companies begin to re-engage their development teams and work hard to make up for lost time?

Our question to you, is there enough consumer confidence and pent-up demand to drive the elective procedures again or are we in for another difficult year due to high unemployment.

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