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Healthcare firms ‘rush to protect market share’

Dubai, August 21, 2011

Facing demands to reduce costs and ramp up innovation in the face of increased competition, healthcare executives are making investment plans and looking to protect their intellectual property and market share, said a report.

A focus on intellectual property protection emerged as a global healthcare industry priority, cited by 43 per cent of respondents as a top business concern, in a survey carried out by UPS, a global leader in logistics.

Patent expirations also ranked high among pharmaceutical and biotech company concerns, cited by 43 per cent of these respondents.

The No 1 business concern for healthcare executives globally is change in healthcare legislation/reform, cited by 52 per cent of respondents, followed by increasing regulations at 48 per cent.

Among US companies, concerns around reform have risen since 2010, with 60 per cent reporting concern in 2011 versus 55 per cent last year. Changes in healthcare legislation/ reform also was cited as the greatest perceived barrier to providing quality and affordable healthcare by 47 per cent of respondents.

The annual survey questioned senior-level healthcare supply chain executives at pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies in the US, Europe and Asia. Now in its fourth year, the survey was conducted by TNS and expanded globally for the first time in 2011.

Amidst industry pressures and change, healthcare executives are also focused on investing in their supply chains to increase their competitiveness. Technology investments ranked as the No. 1 strategy, with 86 per cent of respondents reporting that they would invest in new technologies over the next three to five years.

Tapping into new global markets was the second top strategy for increasing competitiveness, with 81 per cent of respondents reporting plans to expand in new areas in the next three to five years.

“Change is the only constant in healthcare today and it is happening on a global scale, driven by factors such as cost, regulatory pressures and global expansion,” said Bill Hook, vice president, global strategy, UPS Healthcare Logistics.

“Going forward, companies have to find new ways to innovate and adapt to rapid market changes and this is where the supply chain plays a pivotal role.  UPS helps healthcare companies leverage logistics to do things such as expand into new markets faster, implement greater supply chain efficiencies and improve the customer experience, leading to competitive advantages.”

Healthcare companies remain heavily focused on global expansion, with the top five markets for growth cited as the US, China, India, Japan and Brazil. Interestingly, companies in Asia are more focused on global expansion than those in the US, with 75 per cent of healthcare executives in Asia having recently expanded into new global markets to increase their competitiveness versus 58 per cent in the US.

Several other interesting differences arose between regions.  When asked about business concerns, only 30 per cent of US company respondents had concerns about increasing competition versus 51 per cent in Asia.  Around the issue of intellectual property protection, 50 per cent of companies in Asia reported concerns versus only 34 per cent in Europe.

There were other key differences in supply chain concerns as well.  Companies in Asia were much more concerned about product security as a supply chain issue, with 71 per cent reporting high concern versus 53 per cent in the US and 51 per cent in Europe. 

Product damage and spoilage was a much larger issue of concern in Asia and the US than in Europe, with 70 per cent and 67 per cent of Asian and US companies, respectively, reporting concerns versus only 27 per cent in Europe.

Supply chain pains

With extended supply chains due to globalization and the introduction of more specialized products into the marketplace, concerns over regulatory compliance, product integrity and security all remain at the top of supply chain concerns again this year.

Regulatory compliance is the No 1 supply chain concern cited by 73 per cent of respondents. Product security was cited as a concern by 61 per cent and product damage / spoilage by 56 per cent. Managing supply chain costs came in second overall, with 64 per cent of healthcare executives rating this as a top supply chain concern.

Comparing year-over-year trends, companies remain highly concerned about the issue of supply chain cost management but report limited success in addressing this issue. Only 42 per cent of global executives surveyed in 2011 reported success in supply chain cost management. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Dubai | UPS | intellectual property | Market share | Healthcare survey |

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