Emerging markets are presently the most dynamic markets when it comes to healthcare. Owing to an explosive growth in population as well as a steady rise in the aging population, healthcare infrastructure in these economies is under never before pressure. Rapid urbanization and rising incomes are leading the way to a sedentary lifestyle and hence diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity are on the rise. And hence, the meteoric rise in healthcare expenditure.
The biggest challenge in emerging markets is the lack of quality and affordable healthcare for the poor and marginalized communities. With new lifestyle diseases setting in, healthcare delivery models in these countries need a makeover to cater to all. Four of the world’s seven billion people live in emerging markets. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, one-third of all global health expenditure will occur in emerging economies by 2022. So what dynamics are changing in these economies?
From dealing with mass-prevalent infectious diseases like malaria, dengue and polio till a decade back, emerging economies are now waking up to the new challenge that urbanization has brought with it. Non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, cancer, diabetes are diseases that need urgent intervention. According to a research, about 109 million Indian adults will be living with diabetes by 2015, up by 63% from 66.8 million in 2014.
According to UN forecasts, the percentage of people 65 years or older has risen two-fold to 10% since 1980 and will likely reach 15% by 2030 and 25% by 2060. Age-related health issues will have to be dealt with with a sturdy infrastructure and planning, as this will have a straight impact on the healthcare expenditure by emerging markets.
Quality of medicines
Emerging economies are prone to poor and average quality of drugs being widely sold all across. Unlike a country like the USA where there are stricter quality regulations for drugs, emerging markets are still struggling to produce high-quality drugs that can pass all quality checks. Exposure to the global landscape has also brought in quality benchmarks that pharma companies in these markets can now be seen adhering to.
Technology is changing the face of healthcare across the world, and emerging markets are no exception. The use of technology like telemedicine, video conferencing, e-learning etc is making healthcare delivery possible in the remotest corners. Healthcare professionals are increasingly relying on various modes of technology to reach their patients, diagnose and stay updated with their conditions. Breakthroughs like AI, machine learning, cloud computing, etc are helping emerging markets gather a huge chunk of healthcare data that they can use to derive actionable insights from.
While there’s a lot to learn from evolved and developed markets, but what emerging markets are experiencing currently is unique to them and hence, there is a lot of scopes to learn, unlearn and grow for these markets.