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Sterile Medical Packaging Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Material (Plastics, Glass, Metal, Paper & Paperboard), By Type (Thermoform, Trays, Sterile Bottles & Containers, Sterile Closures, Pre-Fillable Inhalers, Pre-Fillable Syringes, Vials & Ampoules, Blister & Clamshells, Wraps), By Sterilization Method (Chemical Sterilization, Radiation Sterilization), By Application and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102798



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The global sterile medical packaging market size was USD 35.74 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with the product witnessing a positive demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a huge growth of 13.9% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is projected to grow from USD 39.79 billion in 2021 to USD 68.49 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 8.1% during the 2021-2028 period. The sudden decline in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

Sterilization is an important processing step performed in the healthcare industry. Hence, the use of sterile packaging products or sterile barrier systems has gained significant importance in this industry. Sterile medical packaging is a non-reusable packaging material that acts as a barrier against microbial transmission. Most of these packaging, such as wraps, pouches, and containers are designed to prevent medical products from the external environment and unintended transmission of infections. Furthermore, these sterile barrier systems maintain product sterility from the point of packaging and sterilization, until the time of use. They offer beneficial properties such as tear resistance, durability, breathability, and a superior microbial barrier to keep the pharmaceuticals and medical equipment sterile throughout their lifecycle. These properties would surge the demand for sterile medical packaging in various applications ranging from in-vitro diagnostic products to surgical & medical instruments.

Rising Demand for Healthcare Products as a Result of COVID-19 to Propel Growth

The healthcare industry has been rapidly growing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The anxiety and fear for the coronavirus have made people more conscious about health & safety, which has pushed up the healthcare industry to rigorously follow the new government rules & regulations regarding hygiene. In addition, hospital systems became overwhelmed with the rapidly increasing number of patients, which is weighing heavily on the healthcare industry. This would lead to an increase in the demand for sterile medical packaging equipment owing to the prevention of contamination and spreading of the virus.

This pandemic has caused a sudden demand for diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical ventilators, and other critical medical supplies. Therefore, the need for sterile/aseptic packaging, anti-viral packaging, and new sustainable packaging options has surged. However, the excess demand for healthcare products has caused a lack of supply. For instance, according to the Annals of Intern Medicine, by the end of March 2020, the U.S. only had 12 million N95 respirators and 1,60,000 ventilators amongst the overall population of the country. As governments in these countries are taking initiatives to normalize the working of their industries, the market is anticipated to regularize in the next couple of years.


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Rising Adoption of Single-use Medical Equipment is a Prominent Trend

The rising cases of contagious diseases such as coronavirus, cold, flu, tuberculosis, and SARS have led to a surge in the demand for single-use medical equipment or devices. These devices include syringes, needles, bandages, face masks, gloves, applicators, suction catheters, testing kits, and surgical sponges. As these devices are used only once, they prevent the spreading of bacteria or infection from one patient to another. The packaging used for such devices needs to be very efficient in maintaining their sterility. These products are considered to be effective packaging solutions for such devices. They keep the single-use medical equipment away from moisture and chemicals. These packaging solutions are available in different sizes and shapes according to the requirement of the application area. Hence, the rising demand for single-use medical equipment will fuel the market.


Increasing Demand for Sterile Packaging Systems in Healthcare Industry to Drive Market Growth

The rising population, coupled with an increase in the prevalence of diseases and the adoption of new regulations by governments to control the spread of infectious diseases are some of the major factors driving the growth of the healthcare industry. The growth of sterile medical packaging in the healthcare industry is attributed to its superior microbial barrier and durable properties. These packaging products keep the pharmaceutical and medical products sterile until the package is opened for use. Furthermore, the use of suitable sterile packaging products is very important as it allows the withdrawal of packaged contents without infection and damage. Hence, the rising demand for packaging solutions in the healthcare industry will drive market growth during the forecast period.


Stringent Regulatory Standards for Sterile Packaging to Restrict Sterile Medical Packaging Market Growth

Sterile packaging systems must be designed to ensure sterility of packed contents until their point of use. Hence, stringent regulatory standards are made and implemented over their manufacturing. These standards ensure that the packed devices or instruments do not face any adverse reaction or damage from packaging products or external factors. EN ISO 11607 (part 1 and part 2) is the global standard that specifies the validation requirements of medical packaging systems used for sterilized medical devices or instruments. These validation requirements are used in various steps of packaging products such as material selection, design qualification, design testing & control, and process validation. The standards are complex and hence act as a restraining factor for the market.


By Material Analysis

Plastics Segment to Remain at the Forefront Backed by Their Cost-effective Property

Based on the material, the sterile market is segmented into plastics, glass, metal, paper & paperboard, and others. Plastic is the largest and fastest-growing raw material used in the production of sterile medical packaging. They are mainly preferred in medical packaging and include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). These plastics are an ideal choice for medical packaging solutions as they offer easy moldability, cost-effectiveness, and protective properties. They protect the packed drugs, devices, and medical instruments from damage and contamination. Plastics find their application in thermoformed blister trays and packs, bottles, closures, pouches, vials, overwraps, and bags.

Glass is the second-largest material used in sterile medical packaging owing to its chemical and moisture resistant properties. It is a preferred material in the manufacturing of various types of medical packaging such as vials & ampoules, bottles, test tubes, and syringes. Moreover, metals such as lead, tin, and aluminum are highly used for the packaging of medical equipment. The paper & paperboard segment is anticipated to grow significantly owing to its various beneficial properties such as high stiffness, durability, code ability, and reliability.  

By Type Analysis

Thermoform Trays Segment to Account for the Major Share during the Forecast Period

Based on the type, the market is categorized into thermoform trays, sterile bottles & containers, vials & ampoules, pre-fillable inhalers, sterile closures, pre-fillable syringes, blister & clamshells, bags & pouches, wraps, and others. Among these, thermoform trays are the majorly used sterile medical packaging systems. These are mainly produced using rigid material and have a multi-compartment to support the medical equipment. These trays are used to pack sutures, implants, testing kits, and sensitive surgical items.

The pre-fillable syringes segment held the second-largest share in the market, in 2020. These ready-to-fill syringes are lightweight, transparent, and break-resistant. Plastic is the preferred material used in these syringes as it can offer a glass-like appearance. The high moisture barrier property of syringes enables the long-term storage of drugs. Hence, it is suitable for multiple-dose injection therapies in various diseases. The rising use of multiple-dose injection therapies will surge the demand for pre-fillable syringes during the forecast period.

Moreover, blister packs reduce the cost of packaging and eliminate the need for additional cartons. Hence, their increasing preference will fuel the blister & clamshells segment. Several types of bags & pouches are adopted in the medical industry which include adhesive closure bags, sterilization bags, pharmacy bags, respiratory setup bags, and ziplock & reclosable bags.

By Sterilization Method Analysis

Chemical Sterilization to be the Fastest-growing Sterilization Method in the Market

Based on the sterilization method, the market is classified into chemical sterilization, radiation sterilization, and high temperature/pressure sterilization. The chemical sterilization segment is further segmented into ethylene oxide (ETO), hydrogen peroxide, and others. Similarly, the radiation sterilization segment is sub-segmented into gamma radiation, e-beam, and others. Further, the high temperature/pressure sterilization segment is bifurcated into the steam autoclave and dry heat. The chemical sterilization segment is the fastest-growing method adopted in the market, in which ethylene oxide is the most significant chemical used for sterilization. It is an alkylating agent that disrupts the reproductive processes and cellular metabolism of microorganisms. Furthermore, it is well-suited for many materials including plastics and glass that degrade by radiation or heat sterilization.

Radiation sterilization is the second-largest method in which gamma radiation is the largest sub-segment. This method uses cobalt-60 as a radiation source that undergoes decomposition to release the high-energy gamma rays for sterilization and decontamination. In the sterilization process, gamma rays kill the contaminating microorganisms by breaking down bacterial DNA and inhibiting bacterial division. This makes gamma radiation a reliable and viable method for the healthcare system. In high temperature/pressure sterilization, the steam autoclave is the most significant method. It is a very effective decontamination method that uses saturated steam at 121–132 °C. It is mostly used for medical devices such as surgical instruments. Hence, the increasing demand for the sterilization of packaging products will boost the lucrative growth of the market.

By Application Analysis

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Pharmaceutical & Biological Application to Account for Dominant Share during the Forecast Period

Based on the application, the market is classified into pharmaceutical & biological, surgical & medical instruments, in-vitro diagnostic products, medical implants, and others. The pharmaceutical & biological segment is the dominant application in the market. The rapidly rising contagious and non-contagious diseases have led to an increase in the number of patients. This has resulted in the increasing demand for medication and blood tests. These positive factors are expected to surge the demand for sterile medical packaging in pharmaceutical & biological applications and thereby drive the market growth.     

The surgical & medical instruments segment is a rapidly growing application in the market. These include catheters, procedural kits, urine and drainage bags, gloves, drapes, and gowns. These instruments are majorly used during surgical procedures and operations. Hence, the rising need for surgeries and operations will increase the demand for surgical & medical instruments, and will thereby lead to market expansion.

Furthermore, materials such as plastic and glass are mainly used in in-vitro diagnostic products. The medical implants segment is anticipated to grow at a significant rate during the forecast timeline. The demand for medical implants is associated with their biocompatibility, corrosion resistance, bio functionality, bio-adhesion, availability, and processability properties.


North America Sterile Medical Packaging Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)

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The market size in North America stood at USD 12.79 billion in 2020. Based on the region, the market is categorized into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Middle East & Africa. North America holds the largest sterile medical packaging market share. The U.S. is the most significant contributor in this region. The growth in this region is attributed to the rising pharmaceutical industry and increasing consumer healthcare spending. The rising number of patients, owing to the rapidly spreading contagious diseases such as coronavirus has led to the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. These factors will fuel the demand for such packaging in this region

Europe is the second-largest contributor in the market. The growth is due to the rising use of medical equipment such as thermoform trays, sterile bottles & containers, vials & ampoules, and pre-fillable syringes, in various medical applications. In Asia Pacific, China, Japan, and India are the leading contributors to market growth. The increasing population and awareness of consumers towards healthcare requirements have boosted the healthcare industry in this region. Further, the high demand for in-vitro diagnostic products and medical implants will drive the demand for sterile packaging systems. The increasing product need from the medical implants & in-vitro diagnostic applications will boost the market growth in the Middle East & Africa. The rising infrastructure development and increasing product innovation will surge product adoption in South America.    


Key Players Use Organic and Inorganic Growth Strategies to Maintain Their Positions in Market

At present, the competitive landscape of the market depicts a semi-consolidated industry with the top 15 companies accounting for the major share in the market. Key players in the market have invested a considerable amount of resources in the research and development of several products and technologies to produce them. A diversified product portfolio, supported by superior operational efficiency, and safe & novel technology development for sterile medical packaging applications, are the strategies used by market leaders for their growth. These companies have adopted the strategies of expansion, new product development, and acquisition to increase their regional presence and product portfolios.


  • Amcor Plc (Switzerland)

  • Placon (U.S.)

  • DuPont (U.S.)

  • Steripack Ltd. (Ireland)

  • Wipak Group (Finland)

  • Nelipak Healthcare (U.S.)

  • Tekni-Plex (U.S.)

  • Sonoco (U.S.)

  • BillerudKorsnäs AB (Sweden)

  • ProAmpac (U.S.) 

  • West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (U.S.)

  • Riverside Medical Packaging Company Ltd (UK)

  • Oliver Healthcare Packaging (U.S.)

  • GS Medical Packaging (Canada)

  • Orchid (U.S.)

  • Technipaq Inc. (U.S.)

  • Others


  • November 2019 – Amcor built a state-of-the-art 11-layer cast extrusion line at its Winterbourne Centre of Excellence for cast films located in Bristol, U.K., with an investment of about USD 10.87 million. Along with this, the company also invested in the integrated slitting and packing machinery that would process a wide range of polymer types.

  • November 2019 – Sonoco acquired Plastique Holdings, LTD. and Thermoform Engineered Quality, LLC, a global manufacturer of thermoformed packaging for medical devices, healthcare, and consumer markets. This acquisition will help Sonoco to expand its healthcare packaging business in Europe.


An Infographic Representation of Sterile Medical Packaging Market

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The sterile medical packaging market report provides a detailed analysis of the industry and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, materials used in packaging, sterilization methods adopted, and leading applications of the product. Besides this, it offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



   Value (USD Billion)


  Material; Type; Sterilization Method; Application; and Geography

By Material

  • Plastics

  • Glass

  • Metal

  • Paper & Paperboard

  • Others

By Type

  • Electrical & electronics

  • Transportation

  • Medical

  • Chemical

  • Others 

By Sterilization Method

  • Chemical Sterilization

    • Ethylene Oxide (ETO)

    • Hydrogen Peroxide

    • Others

  • Radiation Sterilization

    • Gamma Radiation

    • E-beam

    • Others

  • High Temperature/Pressure Sterilization

    • Steam Autoclave 

    • Dry Heat

By Application

  • Pharmaceutical & Biological

  • Surgical & Medical Instruments

  • In Vitro Diagnostic Products

  • Medical Implants

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico)

  • Europe (Germany, UK, France, Russia, Italy, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

  • South America (Brazil, Argentina, and Rest of South America)

  • The Middle East & Africa (GCC, Egypt, and Rest of Middle East & Africa)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 35.74 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 68.49 billion by 2028.

In 2020, the market value stood at USD 35.74 billion.

Registering a CAGR of 8.1%, the market will exhibit significant growth in the forecast period (2021-2028).

The plastic segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.

The rising adoption of single-use medical equipment is the key factor driving the market.

North America held the highest market share in 2020.

The increasing demand for sterile packaging systems in the expanding healthcare industry, rising spread of contagious diseases, and increasing healthcare awareness among consumers are few factors supporting the adoption.

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Sterile Medical Packaging Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
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