When we think of healthcare, we tend to think of it as one homogenous block. We imagine that our painkillers, vaccines, cancer research, fitness watches, and lifestyle advice all come from the same companies. But the truth is, healthcare is divide into multiple sectors, each performing its own unique role in shaping our world.
Biggest Sectors in Healthcare:
With that in mind, let’s dive into the biggest sectors in healthcare, what they do, and how they shape national and international health.
If you’ve ever taken a painkiller or a contraceptive pill, you’ve got the pharmaceutical industry to thank.
The pharmaceutical industry discovers, develops, produces, and markets new drugs, typically made from a mix of chemicals to cure a particular illness or disease. The industry currently spends $ 100 billion per year on R&D alone.
As diseases become more complex (especially when combined with modern lifestyle factors), the pharmaceutical industry will become increasingly valuable as a means to treat or cure illness, particularly in developing countries.
Biopharma products are produced using living systems, such as yeast, bacteria, or animal cells. This industry has massively increased outputs in recent decades, showing no sign of stopping.
The value of this market grows year on year – and for good reason. Biopharma is a healthcare sector that’s responsible for some of the most well-known treatments across the globe, including insulin, and, of course, the COVID-19 vaccine. Companies in the biopharma industry often specialize in manufacturing, such as a CDMO for biologics.
Biopharmaceuticals differ from synthetic pharmaceuticals, with the former using living cells and the latter using a mix of chemicals and medicine. The global crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic showed us just how quickly scientists and healthcare professionals will need to move to create new treatments when a novel virus or infectious disease occurs. The biopharma industry is set to be a key part of this process.
Health Tech Industry
As with any sector, technology has been put increasingly at the heart of the healthcare revolution over the past few decades. Examples of health tech include IT tools or software designed to boost the efficiency of hospitals, give insights into medicines and treatments, or improve the care that patients receive.
An emerging trend in the world of health tech is artificial intelligence, commonly known as AI. This rapidly advancing technology promises to revolutionize the world of health by speeding up production and accuracy, giving better results in less time.
Telemedicine is another example of health tech that has increased in popularity as a result of the pandemic. Telemedicine involves doctors meeting remotely with patients, which both frees up the time of healthcare professionals and provides better accessibility for busy or geographically isolated patients.
Medical Device Industry
The medical device industry is responsible for creating products used in healthcare settings, from surgical gloves to medical equipment. The industry also plays a crucial role in developing new devices which can improve the ability to detect and treat illness.
In a world where healthcare is increasingly carried out remotely, this industry is set to increase the production of at-home health monitoring devices, allowing patients to enjoy more autonomy over their health.