Medical food is specially formulated food that meets the nutritional requirements of a specific disease. The FDA defines medical food as ‘food that is formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician and that is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.’ These criteria were defined in FDA’s 1988 Orphan Drug Act Amendments and are subject to the general food and safety labelling requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Medical foods are created for both pediatric and adult use and are available in a variety of forms, including powders, liquids, capsules, tablets, and bars. Moreover, they are specialized blends of macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and botanicals or preparations composed of a single nutrient.
The global medical food market is driven by a rise in geriatric population and increase in burden of chronic diseases around the globe. There is a shifting trend toward enteral nutrition (absorption through the gastrointestinal tract) methods rather than parenteral nutrition absorption such as intravenous administration. Enteral administration is safer as compared to the parenteral option as there is lesser risk of infection and it offers physiological bene?ts such as the maintenance of small intestine mass and pancreatic function. Technological advancements have reduced the cost of enteral drug administration, making it cost-effective. Thus, a shift toward enteral nutritional products and increase in demand for personalized medicine in developed countries are expected to fuel demand for medical foods in the near future.
The global medical foods market can be segmented based on product, application, route of administration, distribution channel, and geography. Based on product, the global medical foods market can be classified into powdered medical foods, pills, and others. Among these, the powdered medical foods segment is anticipated to dominate the market. Enteral feeding devices have improved in many ways due to technological advancements. For example, pumps have become lightweight. The devices are constructed from materials that eliminate stress cracking in high-stress applications, and they are easy to use and easy to clean. These are some of the factors boosting the use of powdered medical foods.
In terms of application, the market can be divided into diabetes management, bone & joint related diseases, Alzheimer disease, depression, medical foods for inborn errors, gastrointestinal diseases, and others. The diabetes management segment held a major market share in 2017, and the trend is expected to continue during forecast period. New product launches and rise in prevalence of diabetes in developed as well as developing countries are major factors boosting the segment.
In terms of route of administration, the medical foods market can be categorized into oral and enteral route of administration. Based on distribution channel, the market can be divided into hospital pharmacy, retail pharmacy, and online pharmacy. Among these, the online pharmacy segment is expected to expand at a rapid pace during forecast period.
In terms of region, the global medical foods market can be classified into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East and Africa. North America is likely to continue its dominance of the global medical foods market in terms of revenue during the forecast period. North America and Europe are the most prominent regions of the medical foods market owing to increase in demand for medical foods with increase in prevalence of chronic disorders. Asia Pacific is expected to be a rapidly expanding region of the medical foods market due to increasing awareness among people and a high rate of acceptance of new treatment methods.
Prominent players operating in the market include Danone, Primus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Nestlé, Abbott, Meiji Holdings and Co., Ltd., Targeted Medical Pharma, Inc., Mead Johnson & Company, LLC., Accera, Inc., and Alfasigma USA, Inc.
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