The emergence of the delta and the omicron variants upended medtech's rebound last year, bringing back many of the same questions the industry has been asking since the pandemic began.
Procedure-reliant medtechs are still questioning when surgery volumes will return to normal as COVID-19 surges continue to shut down hospital operations. And while procedure volume volatility has been an ongoing challenge for the last two years, hospital staffing shortages are now also a key reason that surgeries are being delayed or canceled.
"This concept of a recovery trade in medtech that we had in 2021 — for a portion of 2021 — where medtech did relatively well … I just think that's out the window at this point," said SVB Leerink analyst Danielle Antalffy.
Diagnostics companies are, once again, being boosted by rising COVID-19 cases. However, key players have also cautioned about the unpredictability of testing demand as COVID-19 cases rise and fall. Fluctuating test demand may not be the only revenue pressure for diagnostics makers this year; companies are also likely to face pressure from increased competition in the market.
Meanwhile, the FDA is struggling to return to normal as the agency is forced to still prioritize pandemic work, likely causing further delayed timelines for product reviews. Despite the necessary focus on the pandemic, experts expect increased action from the agency this year, such as a higher number of warning letters and facility inspections.
MedTech Dive's outlook series explores key trends and topics for the sector in 2022, as the industry manages through omicron and with the lingering threat of future variants.