Asia’s ageing population holds immense opportunities for the healthcare and biomedical market. Ageing societies and the growing incidence of developed-world diseases continue to drive growth in Asia’s drug and medication industry. This is further aided by rising government healthcare budgets and the introduction of health insurance schemes into Asia’s countries. Between 2001 and 2010, regional pharmaceutical sales more than doubled to US$214.2 billion. By 2016, this is expected to top US$386 billion, reflecting an annual average growth rate of more than 13 percent1. Additionally, rising consumer healthcare awareness is expected to fuel demand for non-essential and therapeutic treatments.
Singapore is Asia’s fastest-growing bio-cluster, having created a genus of research institutes, corporate labs and public hospitals. Strategic partnerships between these diverse players enhance the city-state’s ability to provide new medical treatments for regional and global markets. It is estimated that nearly US$1 billion is invested in biomedical research and development (R&D) every year2.
Multi-national corporations (MNCs), seeking to drive clinical and translational research are capitalising on Singapore’s R&D infrastructure and scientific expertise. Seven of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies—Novartis, Merck, Sanofi, Roche, GSK, Johnson & Johnson and Abbott—along with the top 10 global medical technology companies, have regional headquarters in Singapore . This makes Singapore a thriving pool of cutting-edge expertise on healthcare and the biomedical sciences.
More than 30 of the world’s leading biomedical sciences companies depend on Singapore as a base for developing innovative medical solutions tailored to Asian markets4. TThey leverage the high standards and expertise within clinical research and clinical trials management available here. Biopharmaceutical companies, such as Abbott, Lonza, MSD and Pfizer5 have also made Singapore their global manufacturing base. Through partnerships with Singapore companies, research institutes and the city-state’s networks and political neutrality within the region, the largest names in the industry today can tap into Asia’s fast-growing healthcare markets.
Singapore has developed a world-renowned healthcare industry bolstered by international certifications such as the Joint Commission International accreditation, ISO, Good Laboratory Practice and Good Manufacturing Practice7. The country’s healthcare providers continually seek to develop cutting-edge expertise and equipment, earning Singapore a reputation as the go-to place for complex medical procedures. In 2012, the medical expenditure generated from travellers was approximately US$0.9 billion, a 13.3 per cent year-on-year increase over 20118.
Singapore’s highly globalised R&D networks support healthcare events, biomedical conferences and medical exhibitions that showcase innovative healthcare and biomedical technologies, with international industry experts convening in Singapore to exchange biomedical expertise. Such cross- pollination is enabled by events such as BioPharma Asia Convention and Tech Transfer Summit Asia, where pharmaceutical, biotechnology companies and investors come together to explore the translational potential of biomedical discoveries.
Beyond the medical sciences, Singapore’s flourishing infocomm Infocomm and technology Technology (ICT) infrastructure also supports the development of intelligent solutions for the healthcare sector. Global non-profit organisations, such as the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), use Singapore as a hub to drive partnerships and engagements in Asia Pacific, as well as to enhance health care outcomes through technology.
Pharmaceutical companies, biomedical research institutes, healthcare practitioners and regulators today have to work closer than ever to develop holistic care delivery models that deliver customer-centric treatments. Singapore’s uniquely interconnected bio-cluster is ideal for business events that bring together movers and shakers from a variety of fields within the medical community. Plans include pairing the innovative design industry with the healthcare sector and showcasing innovative healthcare design concepts in constructing a holistic healthcare arena.
Singapore’s healthcare industry is gearing up to meet the needs of the ageing population by seeking out innovative solutions that will effectively support ageing-in-place. The success of recently launched exhibitions like Ageing Asia Investment Forum and Rehab Tech Asia are indicators of the growing demand for intelligent technologies and strategies in gerontology.
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