A new Research and Markets report has valued the global medical devices market at $389 billion. This translates into a large opportunity for hundreds of companies offering solutions that can improve patient outcomes and reduce hospital stays, officials at the market research firm say.

This report contains market sizing and forecasts for the world medical device market and those of several countries, a survey of regulatory practices across the world, the impact of the medical device tax in the United States and pricing in other countries, and key drivers and limiters and profiles of major device companies and promising small firms.

Specifically, the report has isolated 15 bellwether companies based on revenues and also diversity of medical devices produced, so that changes merely in one area of devices have a mitigated impact on the industry forecast. The report concludes with several company profiles, noting revenues, product launches and selected products.

Moreover, with increasing growth in the market, companies are merging to build revenue growth and present combined offerings to hospital and physician customers. The U.S. economy recovered somewhat, yet in Europe as well as the United States reimbursement challenges and the threat of new legislation looms. Emerging markets again helped to boost company revenues but the double-digit growth of past years is no longer widely forecasted.

Still, the medical device market, in terms of revenues, is not even half as large as the global pharmaceutical market, though it sees many more transactions, Research and Markets officials say. This is due to pricing, as in volume terms there are more units sold in the device market.

Even so, growth prospects in medical devices in the aggregate are more promising than in the current pharmaceutical industry, challenged by patent expirations and regulatory activity. Further, although the largest component of the market is in the United States, the majority of sales are non-U.S., and considerable future growth is occurring in other markets, Research and Markets officials conclude.