The market for imaging agents is a sector within the diagnostic imaging industry, which encompasses not only contrast agents and products for nuclear medicine, but also diagnostic equipment, medical devices and related software.
Medical imaging agents are generally pharmaceuticals used to allow diagnosis and monitoring of various afflictions using different modalities:
- Iodinated and Barium compounds used in Radiography and Computed Tomography or CT (X-Ray/CT contrast agents);
- Products mostly based on Gadolinium are linked to a variety of molecules and used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI contrast agents);
- Products based on gas and microbubbles, are used in diagnostic ultrasonography (U/S contrast agents);
- Radioactive compounds are used with radiation detection probes (Diagnostic Radiopharmaceuticals), in some cases together with medical devices or products used to stimulate body organ functions.
Medical imaging agents are considered medicinal products by the regulatory authorities and are therefore subject to strict regulatory requirements, equivalent to therapeutic drugs.