Summary of our market study

The global medical gases market has demonstrated significant growth starting from 2020, despite facing challenges such as increased energy costs and the strain on supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Italy, the market experienced fluctuations, with a noted decrease of 3.7% in enterprise turnover in 2020 compared to the previous year. However, the market rebounded with a 5% increase in production for the industrial and medicinal gases sector in 2022, likely driven by the persistent demand for medicinal oxygen due to ongoing COVID-19 cases and the resumption of postponed medical procedures. Additionally, the market dynamics were influenced by the presence of well-established players such as Solgroup in Italy and stringent regulations applicable to medical gases, requiring compliance with both medicinal and medical device legislation. The average cost for oxygen varied by region within Italy, with the total unit cost per liter for oxygen in mobile containers nationwide being €0.36, contrasting the €0.45 for stationary containers. Overall, the medical gases market continues to expand rapidly with projections of further growth driven by an aging population, advancements in medical research, and increased healthcare accessibility in developing countries.

Trends in Medical Gas Demand in the Italian Market

In recent years, medical gases have been increasingly recognized as crucial elements within healthcare settings, not only in Italy but globally. These gases, which include oxygen, nitrogen, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and others, have been integral in the treatment and management of various health conditions - most notably during the Covid-19 pandemic where the demand for oxygen skyrocketed, especially in hard-hit regions. Italy, among other nations, has experienced an exponential surge in demand for medical gases due to this health crisis. Reports suggest that in the most affected areas during the pandemic, the need for oxygen increased by as much as five times. Consequently, the demand for these gases has played a significant role in shaping the market growth, which is projected to continue its upward trajectory. The overall market value is expected to reach between $5 and $6 billion by the late 2020s, growing at a compound annual growth rate of around 8.5%. Despite facing challenges such as the sourcing of raw materials and specialized packaging, the Italian market has demonstrated resilience and adaptability.

The market structure is inherently complex due to the dual categorization of medical gases - some serve directly as drugs, while others are vital for medical devices. This has necessitated stringent adherence to the prevailing regulations governing drugs and medical devices alike. Solgroup, a leading player in the Italian market, illustrates the competitive nature of the industry, underlining the difficulty new entrants may face against well-established entities. Chronic respiratory diseases represent a significant driving force behind the demand for medical gases. The prevalence of such conditions is on the rise, contributing to their status as one of the top three causes of death in the country. With an aging population - which has grown by roughly 25% over the past two decades, accounting for between 20 and 25% of the total population - the need for medical gases for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes continues to escalate. This demand has translated into substantial pharmaceutical spending across Italy, with total expenditure on medical gases amounting to over $200 million annually. Furthermore, it is evident that there are regional discrepancies when it comes to the cost of medical gases. For instance, oxygen sold in fixed containers averages at approximately $0.45 per liter nationally, while the cost per liter for mobile containers is around $0.38. However, these costs can vary substantially from one region to the next due to factors such as distribution network efficiency and regional pricing strategies. In sum, the Italian market for medical gases is shaped by.

Key Players Shaping the Medical Gas Market Landscape

The medical gas market is characterized by a mix of vibrant players ranging from large multinational corporations to specialized local companies. Each of these entities plays a crucial role in producing and distributing the gases that have become indispensable in modern medical care. Below, we explore some of the mainstay companies that have significantly impacted the landscape of medical gas supply, especially within Italy and beyond.

  • SOL Group (SOL S.p.A.) SOL Group is a leader in the production, applied research, and marketing of industrial, pure, and medicinal gases. An Italian multinational, SOL has carved a niche for itself as a prominent producer of medical gases, contributing significantly to the response to increased healthcare demands, especially highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their extensive range includes oxygen, medical air, and nitrous oxide among others, and they operate a dense network of production and distribution facilities that ensure reliable supply to healthcare settings across Italy and in other regions where the company is present.
  • Air Liquide Italia Produzione SRL Part of the global Air Liquide Group, Air Liquide Italia Produzione SRL brings international expertise to the Italian market. With a widespread reputation for supplying industrial and medicinal gases, Air Liquide has been pivotal in providing medical oxygen and respiratory care products, not only serving hospitals but also patients requiring home care.
  • Linde Gas Italia S.R.L. Another global giant with a strong presence in Italy is Linde Gas Italia S.R.L. The company provides various medical gases, including oxygen and nitric oxide, and their infrastructural capabilities ensure the proper production and distribution of these life-saving gases. Linde has also been instrumental in advancing technologies related to the storage and transportation of medical gases, ensuring they remain within reach of those who need them most.
  • Rivoira Gas S.P.A. Rivoira, with its multiple subsidiaries including Rivoira Operation SRL and Rivoira Pharma SRL, has been at the forefront of producing and providing medical gases not just for therapeutic uses but also for pharmaceutical manufacturing purposes. As a key player in the market, Rivoira ensures the accessibility of medical-grade gases to healthcare facilities and the broader pharmaceutical industry.
  • Sapio Production Hydrogen Oxygen S.R.L. Sapio with its expansive reach - evidenced by the numerous production sites cited - acknowledges the specifics of the local market while pushing for industrial innovation and technological development in the production of hydrogen, oxygen, and other therapeutic gases.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market Overview

1.1 Definition and presentation

Medical gases are mainly used in hospitals.Their purpose is tocure, relieve thepain, anesthetize and improve respiratory function.they have always been used inside hospitals and health care facilities but only recently have they been considered true medicines. The best-known medical gases are:oxygen, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, acetylene, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and hydro/chloro/fluorocarbons.

it is possible to classify these products into three categories:

  • Medicinal gases that act as drugs (Oxygen (O 2 ), nitrous oxide (N 2 O), nitric oxide, etc.;)
  • Medical device gases (CO2, N2O, etc.);
  • Non-state gases.

Globally, the medical gas market is considered to be growing. It is projected to reach a value of $5.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.6%.

This growth is also due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased the demand for this type of medicine to treat patients.

The medical gas market in Italy has also grown exponentially due to the recent health emergency. The gas that has been most in demand during the pandemic has been oxygen, and it is estimated that in the areas most affected by Covid-19, the demand for this aeriform has increased as much as 5 times.

The main Italian player in this market is the listed company Solgroup.

One of the critical issues in this market is not so much finding the raw material but rather the supply of packaging to contain it, which is often delivered late or requires special treatments to be used. Operators working with these materials also need to use specific protective equipment that can be difficult to find especially at this time in history.

From the data previously presented, it can be seen that this market is growing but can be difficult to penetrate as there are well-established competitors and it can also be very difficult to source the right raw materials and packaging if one is not an expert in the field.

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Companies quoted in this study

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SOL S.p.a
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