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PMPS: What is the current attraction of the BRIC markets?

Reenita Das: The collective strength of the BRIC economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – is huge, with these countries forecast to account for 37 per cent of global growth during 2011-2016. In contrast, more mature economies are grappling with towering budget deficits, anaemic growth and rising unemployment. Emerging markets have large populations, large resource bases, large markets, and are powerhouses in their regions. They are often characterised by increasing urbanisation, which can lead to an increase in chronic and lifestyle-related diseases – and greater demand for improved healthcare services.

What kind of challenges does this present?

As healthcare costs continue to increase, the need to improve operational efficiency and reduce errors largely by using technology and developing electronic medical records are a clearly defined need. Emerging markets are also facing an enormous shortage of skilled labour including ambulatory staff, emergency staff, HR-related jobs and supply chain positions – these countries need to develop a more competitive workforce.

Is expanding into emerging markets always the best option?

Emerging markets expansion is not an option – it is a must. However, selecting the right country for your business is vital; not every market will benefit every company. We work with our clients to customise an emerging market strategy based on the strengths of the company and its products, with consideration of the value optimisation it can make.

What are companies overlooking?

The need for product customisation is often overlooked. Just because a great product has been successful in the US or the European Union does not necessarily mean it will do as well in Brazil or Russia – these countries need products based on need and solution. Another issue is the regulatory challenges that companies face when entering a new market, which can often push up the time to market by five years. There is often a complete lack of transparency in regulation, and practices that change quickly without any reason.

What do you think would be a better strategy?

A structured approach to identify, evaluate and prioritise a country pipeline system that leverages a data-driven best practices approach in emerging markets is very important. Sadly, most companies do not have this. We adopt a macro-to-micro perspective using a data-driven model that uses economic and industry indicators centred around growth, innovation and leadership – a systematic and proactive approach that helps create a more sustained growth pipeline that will become a source of competitive advantage.

Where do you see the emerging markets trend in ten years’ time?

Purely in terms of demographics, 69 per cent of the world population will live in emerging markets by 2018. These countries outperform developed countries in real gross domestic product terms and are forecast to grow two to three times faster than developed nations. In a recent study, for example, we found that in the Asia-Pacific region, about 180 million new beds will be needed over the next decade to meet the healthcare demand, and more than 40 per cent of this is expected to come from the private sector. A similar situation could well prevail in other emerging regions.


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Reenita Das is a Healthcare and Life Sciences Partner at Frost & Sullivan. She has 25 years of healthcare marketing consulting expertise, engaging with global clients to develop growth strategies in medical devices, technology, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Reenita holds a Masters in Science.
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