Significant growth has been witnessed within the global medical market over the past decade and this is expected to carry on in to the future, with the industry set to increase significantly over the next decade.
Medical care is referred to as the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers. It refers to the work done in providing primary care, secondary care and tertiary care, as well as in public health.
It is estimated that global medical market expenditure is valued at $5.6 trillion, which represents approximately 10% of global GDP. There are marked differences in healthcare spending when analysed geographically. Per capita healthcare expenditure is much higher in western economies than in emerging economies. North America accounts for around 50% of total global medical expenditure.
Growth within the global medical market is set to be fuelled by infrastructural development such as the construction of hospitals and clinics, urbanisation, technological advancements and the aging population. The industry does however still face numerous challenges including an increase in global competitiveness, government regulation and a lack of qualified manpower related to medical devices.
Access to health care varies across countries, groups and individuals, largely influenced by social and economic conditions as well as the health policies in place. Countries and jurisdictions have different policies and plans in relation to the personal and population-based health care goals within their societies.
There are generally five primary methods of funding health care systems:
1) general taxation to the state, county or municipality
2) social health insurance
3) voluntary or private health insurance
4) out-of-pocket payments
5) donations to health charities.
In most countries, the financing of medical care features a mix of all five models, but the exact distribution varies across countries and over time within countries. In all countries and jurisdictions, there are many topics in the politics and evidence that can influence the decision of a government, private sector business or other group to adopt a specific health policy regarding the financing structure.
A medical care provider is an institution (such as a hospital or clinic) or person (such as a physician, nurse, allied health professional or community health worker) that provides preventive, curative, promotional, rehabilitative or palliative care services in a systematic way to individuals, families or communities.
The World Health Organisation estimates there are 9.2 million physicians, 19.4 million nurses and midwives, 1.9 million dentists and other dentistry personnel, 2.6 million pharmacists and other pharmaceutical personnel, and over 1.3 million community health workers worldwide, making the medical market one of the largest segments of the workforce.
The global medical market is a vast and diverse industry, encompassing a huge number of separate and distinct subsectors and ancillary services and products. From medical equipment to pharmaceuticals, from medical tourism to health insurance, the medical market comprises a growing and diverse sector.
An example of this, medical tourism (also called medical travel, health tourism or global health care), is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain health care.
Such services typically include elective procedures as well as complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee/hip), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries. However, virtually every type of health care, including psychiatry, alternative treatments, convalescent care and even burial services are available.
As a practical matter, providers and customers commonly use informal channels of communication-connection-contract, and in such cases this tends to mean less regulatory or legal oversight to assure quality and less formal recourse to reimbursement or redress, if needed.
Within the global medical market, the pharmaceutical industry represents the largest sector. It is estimated that the global pharmaceuticals market is estimated to be valued at approximately $1.6 trillion, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 4% to 6% per year.
The following is a list of the twelve largest medical care companies ranked by revenue as of July 2011 in the Fortune Global 500:
1) Johnson & Johnson (US)
2) Pfizer (US)
3) GlaxoSmithKline (UK)
4) Roche (Switzerland)
5) Sanofi-Aventis (France)
6) Novartis (Switzerland)
7) AstraZeneca (United Kingdom/Sweden)
8) Abbott Laboratories (US)
9) Merck (US)
10) Wyeth (US)
11) Bristol-Myers Squibb (US)
12) Eli Lilly (US).
Johnson & Johnson is an American multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturer founded in 1886. They have more than 250 operating companies in 60 countries, employing approximately 128,000 people. Johnson & Johnson's brands include numerous household names of medications and first aid supplies. Among its well-known consumer products are the Band-Aid Brand line of bandages, Tylenol medications, Johnson's baby products, Neutrogena skin and beauty products, Clean & Clear facial wash and Acuvue contact lenses.
Pfizer is the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company. Pfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for a wide range of conditions including in the areas of immunology and inflammation, oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, neuroscience and pain. Pfizer's products include Lipitor (atorvastatin, used to lower blood cholesterol); the neuropathic pain/fibromyalgia drug Lyrica (pregabalin); the oral antifungal medication Diflucan (fluconazole), the antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin), Viagra (sildenafil, for erectile dysfunction), and the anti-inflammatory Celebrex (celecoxib).
GlaxoSmithKline is a British multinational pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. GSK has a portfolio of products for major disease areas including asthma, cancer, virus control, infections, mental health, diabetes, and digestive conditions. It also has a large consumer healthcare division which produces and markets oral healthcare and nutritional products and over-the-counter medicines including Sensodyne, Boost, Horlicks, and Gaviscon.