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Nuclear Medicine Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Diagnostic Radiopharmaceuticals and Therapeutic Radiopharmaceuticals), By Application (Neurology, Cardiology, Oncology, and Others), By End-user (Hospitals & Clinics, Diagnostic Centers, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI101812



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The global nuclear medicine market was valued at USD 5.04 billion in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 5.57 billion in 2021 to USD 19.47 billion by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 19.6% during the forecast period. The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with experiencing lower demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market growth had exhibited a decline of -4.4% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

Nuclear medicines are a group of pharmaceutical drugs that contain radioactive isotopes. They are exclusive medicinal formulations with radioisotopes and are used in major clinical areas for diagnosis or therapy.  Over the past few years, radiopharmaceutical therapies have emerged as one of the most efficient techniques in various areas, such as neurology, cardiology, oncology, and others.

The market growth is mainly attributed to the growing prevalence of chronic diseases. Moreover, technological advancements enabling the use of radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose and treat cancerous tumors contribute to market growth.  Furthermore, the market players focusing on various strategies such as new product launches and acquisitions are expected to increase market revenue in the coming years.

  • For instance, in June 2021, Bayer AG announced the acquisition of Noria Therapeutics Inc. and PSMA Therapeutics Inc. Both radiotherapy companies are developing targeted therapeutic and imaging radiopharmaceuticals. The acquisition is expected to expand Bayer’s existing oncology portfolio of nuclear medicine.

  • In August 2021, GE Healthcare and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC, a global innovator of radiopharmaceuticals, announced an exclusive agreement to manufacture and distribute iodine-123 (I-123) capsules in the U.S.. The product will help expand GE Healthcare's product portfolio and strengthen its presence in the market.


COVID-19 Pandemic Hampered Market Revenue Due to Declining Diagnosis Procedures

The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the market in 2020. The issues such as lack of workforce & staff, risk of transmission of COVID-19, and the decline in the imaging procedures such as PET-CT SPECT procedures posed a challenge for the market growth in 2020. The decrease in the procedures can be attributable to disruption of supply chains, logistical challenges, safety precautions adoption, which is not easy to maintain by the centers.

  • For instance, according to the survey published by the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, in April 2020, there was a mean reduction of therapies by 45.0%. Centers reported decreases in radioiodine therapy for thyroid cancer and benign diseases by an average of 47% and 63%, respectively.

Complete and partial lockdowns in most of the countries and major restrictions on air travel, the transport of radionuclides, and radiopharmaceuticals became the main bottlenecks to the distribution of products to hospitals.

The market players witnessed a significant decline in revenue generated during 2020. For instance, Jubilant Pharmova Limited witnessed a decrease of 2.7% in the revenue from USD 1,249.6 million in 2019 to USD 1,215.6 million in 2020. Radiopharmaceuticals revenue witnessed a decrease of 26.6% from USD 356.0 million in 2019 to USD 261.4 million in 2020.

However, during Q3-Q4 2020, patient volumes started increasing as the regulations imposed by the government of various countries were relaxed. Therefore, resumption of services had a positive impact on the demand for nuclear medicine in 2021.


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Robust and Strong Therapeutic Radiopharmaceutical Pipelines to Boost Market Growth

The companies operating in the market constantly focus on the development of nuclear medicine therapies. The clinical effects associated with this treatment option as compared to other therapies are driving its demand across the globe.  

Moreover, factors such as the increase in the sophistication of the therapeutic applications outcomes in the treatment of cancer and other disorders are anticipated to drive the demand for nuclear medicine therapies in countries with a high burden of cancer.

  • For instance, in October 2021, the U.S. FDA issued a Study May Proceed letter to Curium to begin its Phase-III trial with lutetium Lu 177 PSMA I&T, its investigational product. It is a therapeutic radiopharmaceutical that binds to the Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) protein.

  • In June 2021, Advanced Accelerator Applications received FDA Therapy designation for investigational 177Lu-PSMA-617 in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).

Similarly, many market players are developing new therapeutic products for the treatment of various medical conditions, thereby driving market growth.  


Technological Advancements in Nuclear Imaging Modalities to Propel Market

One of the crucial drivers for the nuclear medicine imaging market growth is the increased awareness regarding the potential impact of early and timely diagnosis and the corresponding positive impact in the management and treatment of chronic disorders. Advancements in nuclear imaging technology, specifically PET/PET-CT, have aided in the expansion of applications of this modality beyond oncology to cardiology, neurology, and detection of infections.

There has been a substantial increase in the volume of the PET and SPECT procedures due to these technological advancements.

  • For instance, according to the OECD, in 2020, PET procedure volume increased in the U.S., with 2,220,300 as compared to 2019, where the PET procedures were 2,200,800. The increased procedure volume was due to the rising adoption of PET scanners.

Additionally, improvements such as the development of cadmium zinc telluride (CZT)-based detectors, which helps in the simultaneous viewing of physiological and anatomical structures, are expected to drive SPECT-CT adoption systems.

New Product Launches of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiopharmaceuticals to Drive Market

One of the critical driving factors is the strong focus of several market players to introduce new products in this market. Rising demand for nuclear imaging has led to new product launches and the development of robust diagnostic radiopharmaceutical pipelines. Furthermore, a large number of patients suffering from chronic diseases stimulates manufacturers to launch new products in the global market.

  • For instance, in March 2021, GE Healthcare introduced StarGuide, a nuclear medicine system to improve patient outcomes in bone procedures, neurology, cardiology, oncology, and other medical specialties.

Moreover, several key market leaders have entered into agreements and partnerships for the development and commercial launches of diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals.

  • For instance, in August 2021, Cardinal Health entered into a distribution agreement with IRE-ELiT S.A., a company specializing in radiopharmaceutical production. They are expanding patient access to new radiopharmaceuticals for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging as demand in the U.S. continues to grow.


Alternatives Used for Diagnosis of CT and MRI to Limit Market Growth

The adoption of nuclear imaging systems is restricted due to alternative options from other medical imaging modalities such as MRI and CT scanners available across the world.

Nuclear imaging systems are less preferred over MRI and CT scanners due to the high cost of the system and its procedure and the presence of a less favorable reimbursement landscape.

  • For instance, PET radiopharmaceuticals face growth restraints as all the PET drugs are not covered in terms of reimbursement by Medicare, and also, the radiopharmaceuticals are not paid separately from the procedure in the Medicare hospital outpatient setting in the U.S.

 Additionally, the CTs and MRIs also pose a risk to the growth of PET-CT procedure volume due to a large number of CT scans and MRI scans performed annually.

  • For instance, according to the OECD, in 2019, 91.4 million CT scans and 42 million MRI scans, and approximately 2.2 million PET/PET-CT scans were performed in the U.S. compared to Canada, where 5.4 million CT scans, 2.3 million MRI Scans, and 0.12 million PET/PET-CT scans were performed.

Hence, such barriers to the reimbursement and procedure volumes of diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals are expected to limit the market growth during the forecast period.


By Type Analysis

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Therapeutics Radiopharmaceuticals Segment to Register Highest Growth Rate Due to Increasing Product Launches

Based on the type, the market is segmented into diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals.

The diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals are further classified into PET and SPECT radiopharmaceuticals. Further, the PET radiopharmaceuticals are segmented into FDG-PET/18F, 68Ga, 68Cu, 11C, and others. The SPECT radiopharmaceuticals are sub-segmented into Technetium-99m, Iodine-123, Xenon-133, Thallium-201, and others.

The diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals segment is estimated to hold the dominant share of the global market in 2020. This segment is also anticipated to grow at the substantial CAGR due to the factors such as efficient imaging of patients with various types of cancer, new product launches to the diagnosis of various disorders, and increasing procedural volumes worldwide.

  • For instance, in December 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gallium 68 PSMA-11 (Ga 68 PSMA-11), the first drug for PET imaging to diagnose prostate cancer.

The therapeutics radiopharmaceuticals are anticipated to grow at the highest growth rate. The growth can be attributable to the factors such as comparative effectiveness of the treatment, advantages associated with these treatment options, and increasing interest in therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals by market players by having a strong focus on the clinical trials.  

  •     For instance, in October 2021, the U.S. FDA issued a Study May Proceed letter to Curium to begin its Phase-III trial with lutetium Lu 177 PSMA I&T, its investigational product. It is a therapeutic radiopharmaceutical that binds to the Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) protein. Such new approvals are expected to drive the segmental growth during the forecast period.

  • In July 2018, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. and GE Healthcare announced the Phase III clinical trials for Flurpiridaz 18F to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD).

By Application Analysis

High Prevalence of Cancer to Contribute to the Growth of Oncology Segment

Based on the application, the market is segmented into neurology, cardiology, oncology, and others.

In terms of application, the oncology segment is anticipated to grow at the highest CAGR. Diagnosis of cancers is one of the most commonly performed imaging procedures across the globe. This is due to increasing awareness of early diagnosis, high prevalence of cancer, and benefits of diagnosis in the treatment and management of various types of cancer. A large number of pipeline products of nuclear medicine therapies are directed towards the indication of oncology, which is expected to contribute to the segmental growth in the coming years.

  • For instance, according to WHO, more than 19.3 million new cancer cases were diagnosed globally in 2020.  

The cardiology segment is projected to expand at a substantial CAGR during the forecast period. The growth of the cardiology segment is attributed to the increasing use of nuclear medicines for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

  • For instance, in September 2021, GE Healthcare introduced the next-generation cardiac-dedicated nuclear medicine scanner MyoSPECT. It offers an exceptional view of cardiac anatomy and pathology to help clinicians determine the right course of treatment for patients.

By End-User Analysis

High Procedural Volume in Hospitals & Clinics to Boost the Segment

Based on the end-user, the market is segmented into hospitals & clinics, diagnostic centers, and others.

The hospitals & clinics segment is anticipated to expand at the substantial CAGR during the forecast period, 2021-2028. The growth rate is attributed to the high procedural volume of nuclear imaging procedures and the higher efficiency of handling these sensitive products at hospitals & clinics.

  • For instance, in France, out of the total 499,729 PET procedures performed in 2017, an estimated 323,073 PET procedures were performed in hospitals & clinics.

The diagnostic center’s segment accounted for the second-highest market share in 2020 and is expected to expand at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.  This segment’s high growth rate is attributed to the increasing number of diagnostic institutions, and huge procedural volumes in diagnostic centers across Europe.  


North America Nuclear Medicine Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)

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North America generated a revenue of USD 2.57 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to continue its dominance during the forecast period. The rapid adoption of efficient nuclear imaging technologies coupled with the increasing usage of technologically advanced and efficient therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals across the region are expected to drive market growth. Besides this, the increasing prevalence of various cancers and other chronic disorders is expected to fuel the growth of the market in North America during the forecast period.

Europe is projected to witness the second-highest growth in the market due to the adoption of advanced radiopharmaceuticals and recent product launches by the key players. Besides, the acquisition and mergers by market players of this region are also fueling regional growth.

  • For instance, in March 2020, Norgine B.V. acquired a specialty biopharmaceutical company, Azanta A/S. As a result of the transaction, the company acquired Azanta’s portfolio of products, including Angusta for labor induction and Nimorazole, a hypoxic radiosensitizer for cancer treatment.

On the other hand, the Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a substantial CAGR during the forecast period. Due to the increasing disposable incomes across the region, there is a greater awareness concerning imaging diagnostics and their usage in the effective diagnosis and management of various diseases. Increasing procedural volumes of nuclear imaging due to the increased prevalence of chronic disorders in the major countries such as India, China, and Japan are further propelling the market growth in the Asia Pacific region.

  • For instance, in August 2020, Jubilant Radiopharma and Navidea Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU outlines an Exclusive License and Distribution Agreement (“ELDA”) for Navidea’s diagnostic imaging agent Tilmanocept (technetium Tc 99m tilmanocept injection) in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America.

The Rest of the World, which includes the Latin American and the Middle East and Africa regions, is expected to witness moderate growth due to increasing healthcare expenditures and rising awareness of efficient diagnostics and therapeutics for the management of critical care disorders.


Companies with the Diversified and Strong Products Portfolio to Hold Key Market Share   

Several market players such as Cardinal Health, Advanced Accelerator Applications (Novartis AG), Bayer AG, GE Healthcare, Curium, and Jubilant Pharmova Limited account for the major chunk of the market. These market players together account for around 60% of the global market. These companies are focused on various strategies such as new product launches, acquisitions, mergers, and continuous R&D resulting in strong regulatory approvals.

  • For instance, in June 2021, Bayer AG announced to acquire Noria Therapeutics Inc. and PSMA Therapeutics Inc. Both companies are a radiotherapy companies developing targeted therapeutic and imaging radiopharmaceuticals. The acquisition will broaden Bayer’s existing oncology portfolio of nuclear medicine.

Other companies such as Nordion (Canada) Inc, Bracco Diagnostic Inc., Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. have substantial market shares in the global market. The strong and robust therapeutic radiopharmaceutical pipelines of these companies are expected to contribute to the market growth in the upcoming years.

  • For instance, in June 2020, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. acquired Progenics to develop innovative medicines and artificial intelligence to fight cancer. Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. previously announced the acquisition in October 2019 which was completed in June 2020. 



  • August 2021 - GE Healthcare and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC, a global innovator of radiopharmaceuticals, announced an exclusive agreement to manufacture and distribute iodine-123 (I-123) capsules in the U.S.

  • March 2021 - Bracco Diagnostics Inc. announced a partnership with CardioNavix, LLC to improve patient access to cardiac PET imaging. This new program, the Bracco Mobile Isotope Service, will enable more patient care sites to provide cardiac PET imaging.


An Infographic Representation of Nuclear Medicine/ Radiopharmaceuticals Market

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The global nuclear medicine market research report provides a detailed analysis of the industry. It focuses on key aspects, such as competitive landscape of leading companies, installed base of PET/PET-CT Scanners for key countries, installed base of gamma cameras for key countries. Besides this, it offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments and the launch of new products. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report includes the PET/PET-CT procedure volume for key countries, reimbursement scenario in key countries, and pipeline analysis.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD billion)


By Type

  • Diagnostic Radiopharmaceuticals

    • PET Radiopharmaceuticals

      • FDG-PET/18F

      • 68Ga

      • 68Cu

      • 11C

      • Others

    • SPECT Radiopharmaceuticals

      • Technetium-99m

      • Iodine-123

      • Xenon-133

      • Thallium-201

      • Others

  • Therapeutic Radiopharmaceuticals

By Application

  • Neurology

  • Cardiology

  • Oncology

  • Others

By End-User

  • Hospitals & Clinics

  • Diagnostic Centers

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (U.S. and Canada)

  • Europe (Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, Australia, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

  • Rest of the World

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market stood at USD 5.04 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 19.47 billion by 2028.

The market is expected to exhibit steady growth at a CAGR of 19.6% during the forecast period (2021-2028).

By type, the diagnostics radiopharmaceuticals segment is set to lead the market.

Increased demand for advanced diagnostics, rising prevalence of cancers and other disorders, new product launches, robust therapeutic radiopharmaceutical pipelines, and technological advancements in nuclear imaging are expected to drive the market growth.

Cardinal Health, Advanced Accelerator Applications (Novartis AG), Bayer AG, GE Healthcare, Curium, and Jubilant Pharmova Limited are the top players in the market.

North America is expected to hold the highest market share in the market.

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