Judging from the atmosphere and information provided at an awards dinner I attended in Singapore last week, the healthcare sector in Asia is thriving, despite the economic downturn.
The 2009 Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Excellence in Healthcare Awards banquet recognised companies across pharmaceuticals, clinical diagnostics, imaging, generics, biotech, clinical research organisations and medical devices sectors.
Speaking at the banquet, Reenita Das, senior vice president for healthcare practice at Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific, made some bold predictions.
We (in the healthcare industry) are at the beginning of witnessing the biggest economic boom that we have even seen in our careers, she said. Biology is likely to become the greatest single driver of the global economy. Over the past decade, the rise of Asia as an important location for such (technology) work, or innovation offshoring, has come to challenge the notion that the US will remain the innovation capital of the world.
Das said companies needed to set their strategic sights on a future world where Asia is not going to be just a market, or an outsourcing centre, or a manufacturing powerhouse, but also a key component of drug discoveries and high end innovation as well.
Frost & Sullivan expects the healthcare sector in Asia to perform better than the US and Europe in the coming years. It predicts that Asia will take up about 25 per cent of revenues in the next three years, from its current level of about 18 per cent.
Das told the dinner delegates that Asia has evolved to become the new frontier for pharmaceutical firms in search of their next blockbuster drug while keeping research costs low.
Companies need to set their strategic sights on a future global environment where Asia will not only be a product market, an outsourcing centre or a manufacturing powerhouse but also a key component of drug discoveries and high end innovation, she said.
IT award winners
The healthcare IT Company of the Year award for 2009 was won by InterSystems Corporation following its successful software system implementations in China, India, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
This growth is driven by strong market demand for InterSystems TrakCare, an advanced Web-based healthcare information system that rapidly delivers the benefits of an electronic patient record.
The Healthcare IT Competitive Strategy Leadership of the Year Award for 2009 was won by the IBA Health Group for its leading healthcare information management system iSoft. One of the projects related to the streamlining of pharmaceutical services in 21 public hospitals in Western Australia.
The upbeat and positive atmosphere at the dinner, underlined by Frost & Sullivans research (they have no less than 130 analysts dedicated to the healthcare sector) was certainly a refreshing contrast to the negative news that seems to dominate today.
Ross O. Storey, currently the Managing Editor of Fairfax Business Media Asia, is responsible for the editorial content and production of MIS Asia, CIO Asia, Computerworld Singapore and Computerworld Malaysia magazines.
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