Navigating a perfect storm - driving access to healthcare in emerging markets

01 December 2022 | Thursday | News

CBC Group, Asia's largest healthcare-dedicated asset management firm, has today published a report which casts a spotlight on the demand for healthcare in emerging markets, with a focus on Southeast Asia. "Navigating a perfect storm – driving access to healthcare in emerging markets", explores the challenges faced across the region in enabling wider access to affordable healthcare solutions, as well as the opportunities for capital providers, in tandem with governments, to play a key role in targeting and addressing these needs.
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

  • Healthcare demand and expenditure in Southeast Asia are set to increase rapidly amidst rising affluence and an ageing population
  • Emerging markets comprise 60% of the global population but contribute only 20% of global healthcare spending, highlighting the issue of equitable access
  • An innovative collaborative approach is key to bridging and addressing unmet medical needs in the region, says CBC Group's latest report

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the asymmetric development of the healthcare industry, which has historically favoured developed markets and its priorities – from how drugs are developed, to the mechanism of diagnosis and the delivery of treatment. Today, emerging markets comprise 60% of the global population but contribute only 20% of global healthcare spending, highlighting the disparity in spending power and access to medical treatment.

Fu Wei, Chief Executive Officer of CBC Group, said, "Access to affordable and quality healthcare should be a given regardless of socio-economic status, demographics, or geographic boundaries. CBC Group is committed to contributing to the development of innovative solutions which address the needs of the region, and we look forward to collaborating with like-minded partners on these opportunities." 

The report suggests three key challenges facing patients and the sector across the region:

  1. Healthcare affordability – a constrained ability by both governments and private entities to provide adequate funding typically translates to lower availability of treatments and access to medical devices and medicines. For example, the report highlights that half of all cancer patients in the region faced financial catastrophe within a year of diagnosis.
  2. Limited supply of healthcare professionals and systems – Southeast Asia as a region has about three times fewer physicians per capita compared to developed countries, and only half the number of hospital beds per capita recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).  
  3. Fragmented go-to-market infrastructure – resulting in complex commercial pathways for life-saving medications and devices which vary across each country.

On the flipside, there have been recent developments which are meaningfully reducing obstacles in the delivery of quality and affordable healthcare. The increase in adoption of universal healthcare schemes and cost control measures, for example, are some of the initiatives that raise healthcare quality and lower costs.

There has also been an emergence of high-quality innovative products that are domestically successful, with the potential to address significant unmet need at a more cost-effective price point for patients across the region's emerging markets. In certain cases, these products can be three to 10 times cheaper, making them key to expanding accessibility and improving healthcare delivery in the region.

A continued collaborative approach bringing together public and private stakeholders is needed to fill gaps in healthcare systems and spur public and private innovation to address unmet medical needs. Continued investment in the sector will also be critical to the development of better healthcare delivery systems to create more cost-effective options and drive better access to healthcare.

Fu Wei concluded, "At CBC Group, we will continue to drive synergies across our healthcare ecosystem to benefit more patients in Asia and deliver on our mission to enable better healthcare for all."

"Navigating a perfect storm – driving access to healthcare in emerging markets," is available electronically on CBC Group's website: Download the report

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