, China

Asia hailed as world's fastest-growing healthcare market

Total healthcare spending will surge to US$2.27t by 2026.

The Asia-Pacific healthcare market is on track to achieve unprecedented growth on the back of robust regional demand and favourable demographics.

In fact, the region has far outpaced the United States and Europe when it comes to driving healthcare demand. The current market growth in the Asia-Pacific region is 19.9%, well above the 10% growth rate recorded in the US and Europe.

"This region offers rapid recruitment of patients and quality personnel, lower costs, and excellent infrastructure. All in all, Asia-Pacific is perfectly positioned for an extraordinary amount of growth in the very near future," said Sora Lee, vice president of North Carolina-based Syneos Health.

This bodes well for pharmaceutical companies. In 2016, the global pharma market was worth US$1.1t, with the region accounting for two-thirds of all growth overall.
In Asia, drug development is primarily focused on oncology. This is due to the fact that lung, stomach, breast and colorectal cancers being more prevalent in Asia than in the West.

"The lead centres for oncology research in this region are China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, with Singapore the only one not in North Asia. Each market focuses on the cancers common in their own countries – for example, oesophageal cancer is prevalent in north China, and gastric cancer in Japan and South Korea," said James Huang, regional medical director of oncology for Asia-Pacific at Merck.

Asia's overall healthcare spending is projected to surge to US$2.27t by 2026 from US$1.69t in 2017, driven by higher healthcare costs, the rising incidence of chronic diseases, a burgeoning middle class and an overall shift in the age demographic.

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