• 8 April 2010
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The Next BIG Trends

Healthcare for aging
Globally, the population of older people is growing at a rate of 2.6 percent per year, considerably faster than the population as a whole, which is increasing at 1.2 percent annually.
According to UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division report, between 2006-30, the number of older people in less developed countries is projected to increase by over 140 percent as compared to an increase of 51 percent in developed countries. Hence governments in both developed and developing world have launched programs to support the massive aging population. Datamonitor noted that the pharma companies will face growing competition from generics, due to increasingly tough pricing and reimbursement, a clamp down on healthcare spending, and the need to treat patients for longer due to the aging population. These factors prompt pharma companies to adopt a range of corporate strategies to respond to the changing market dynamics.

Personalized medicine
Recent developments in molecular profiling technologies, including proteomic profiling, metabolomic analysis, and genomic/genetic testing allow the development of personalized medicine and predictive medicine. Personalized medicine will allow healthcare providers to focus their attention on factors specific to a patient to provide individualized care. Companies from different spheres such as informatics IT, health insurance, consumer genetic testing, biotech and pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics are already working on this area.

Outsourcing of research and manufacturing
Increasing R&D costs, low productivity and profit margins, have forced the big pharma companies to look for outsourcing part of their research, clinical trials and manufacturing activities to low cost countries there by saving on costs and time. In the current era of globalization and competitive market, outsourcing has become the norm for pharma companies. Taking the advantage of the opportunities, Frost & Sullivan noted that companies from Asian region, will take away a major share of outsourcing from developed world.

Biosimilars or generic biologic drugs are marketed around the world but are still restricted in the US. This may soon change. While Japan has already given the green signal for biosimilar product and the US is moving  closer to the establishment of an approval pathway; the biosimilars market is set for imminent expansion. Datamonitor noted that the biosimilars market will grow across the seven major markets by 2014 following key patent expiry on  epoetin alpha, filgrastim, interferon beta 1a, interferon alpha, human growth hormone (HGH), and insulin-glargine.

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