SOURCE: Kalorama Information

Kalorama Information

January 21, 2010 11:12 ET

"Norway-Type" MRSA Strategy in U.S. Likely to Boost Diagnostics

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - January 21, 2010) - Norwegian hospitals have received considerable attention in the news media this month due to their successful anti-MRSA efforts, and this coverage could be helpful to the diagnostics industry, according to healthcare market research publisher Kalorama Information. Norway's strict limit on antibiotic use has resulted in far less cases of the methycillin-resistant streptococci infections that kill an estimated 19,000 patients in U.S. hospitals each year, and some observers are wondering if the U.S. healthcare system could reduce those cases by replicating the Scandinavian country's control program.

MRSA represents over 65% of hospital staph infections in the US and 44% in the UK, but only 1% in Norway. According to major press reports, this is due to Norway's practice of limiting antibiotic use and instead isolating infected patients and healthcare providers. Kalorama Information believes this success story is an example that bolsters the diagnostic industry's case that its products are cost-cutters, and if it were implemented even partially in the US, makers would see increased demand for testing products.

"Once you stop prescribing antibiotics broadly, as is the case in Norway and other European countries, you need to test everyone to know who to isolate," said Carlson. "This has a cost, but the price of screening is generally outweighed by the costs of the disease."

Attempts to control MRSA have been made at individual hospitals. Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, NJ and University of Maryland Medical Center are among hospitals that have reported significantly reduced cases with an increased screening program.

According to Kalorama Information's market research, there are a variety of testing procedures for MRSA. Chromogenic growth media permit the selective growth of MRSA bacteria and produce a colored colony that is easily recognizable, with plates that generally cost four dollars. But the results could take as long as two days, which may be too late for an isolation strategy. A molecular test may cost five to six times as much as the conventional test, but the results take only two to four hours. Cepheid, Becton Dickinson and Roche Molecular are among the larger companies active in molecular MRSA testing.

Kalorama Information continuously monitors the diagnostic market and its title "Infectious Disease Diagnostics" contains more information about the market for molecular and conventional testing, and profiles of relevant companies.

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