It is generally understood that Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals are two distinct industries, but that they are subject to similar trends. This is because both industries benefit from the effects of an ageing population in a highly decentralized insurance system. Also, important medical discoveries in, for example, the treatment of cancer are boosting scientific advances, and leading to the release of new drugs. For this reason, these industries are weathering the global economic recession relatively well.
- Healthcare costs have risen steadily during the last 20 years. As many small and medium organizations, such as hospitals cannot profit from an economy of scale, they have to be cost-sensitive despite government support
- An ageing population is likely to experience more illness and debility. This must be taken into account when considering future investments of healthcare infrastructure (Processes and IT)
- Outlay on preventive measures will increase as the amount spent on the actual treatments of diseases grows
- Poor personal lifestyle choices (poor diet and insufficient exercise) will lead to an increase in patient numbers, e.g. especially those presenting with obesity and diabetes related problems
- Consumers will take price into account when purchasing medication. Such price sensitivity will lead to increased consumption of generic drugs over original pharmaceuticals
- The traditional patient – doctor relationship has undergone major changes. Patients are much better informed than in the past, and some are ready to take more responsibility for their well-being, including recourse to alternative medicines. This trend has created an significant related industry, a sector of the healthcare industry, which should not be ignored
- There is an increasing distrust of ‘big-Pharma’ and concern about ‘fake’ medicines, both of which should be evaluated as part of the on-going trend
- Governmental price caps make it inevitable that pharmaceutical organizations will be monitoring costs and process activities closely
Healthcare trends should be carefully analysed and evaluated so that organizations can prepare themselves. They must be ready for changes in the nature and structure of the industry. They must position themselves to plan for, and create, a reduced production cost base. Lower government incentives must also be anticipated, due to the impact of the recession. However the Swiss market is likely to be more resistant to economic downturn due to comparative advantage in the financial industry and proportionally higher healthcare spending of the population.