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Analysis: What will drive medical inflation in 2017?

The Aon Asia Market Review 2017 report forecasts a net medical inflation rate of 6% in Asia for 2017, marginally down on the 6.3% recorded last year.

Within the region several countries have the unenviable distinction of posting double digit forecast increases for 2017. These include Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea and Vietnam. Conversely, the key markets of China (3%) and Singapore (8.7%) are forecast to experience significant declines in medical inflation year-on-year.

The now well-established drivers of medical inflation globally include an ageing population, the proliferation of chronic or non-communicable diseases and advanced medical technology. All of these cost-drivers are evident in Asia.

Across the region, two of the chronic diseases most responsible for lost productivity and premature death are hypertension and type two diabetes. The World Health Organisation reports that high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for death, claiming 1.5 million lives each year in southeast Asia. One in three adults in the region is hypertensive.

The Asian Diabetes Prevention Initiative reports that 60% of the global diabetic population lives in Asia, with 113.9 million adults in China affected, representing 11.6% of the adult population. In 1980, the corresponding figure was less than 1%. In India, 65.1 million adults have diabetes. These numbers give China and India the dubious distinction of having the largest number of diabetes sufferers in the world. The high prevalence of these chronic illnesses is largely attributable to modifiable lifestyle behaviours.

Evidence suggests that middle-class consumers in emerging markets increase their spending on healthcare. This is attributable to several convergent factors: adaptation of western lifestyle, demand for improved health outcomes, inadequate public healthcare systems, and proliferation of private healthcare providers inclusive of advanced medical technology.

To illustrate the above point, international consultancy firm McKinsey has forecast that consumer healthcare spending in China will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.6% between 2005 and 2025 with India in close proximity of 9% over the same period.

Given the proliferation of chronic illness and the contributory impact of modifiable lifestyle behaviours related to diet, exercise, alcohol, tobacco, and stress, it is encouraging to note that medical plan insurers in several markets are increasing their commitment to wellness-related services. Looking to the future, these services will need to be more targeted, both with regard to addressing the co-morbidities that are driving the claims experience and engaging those demographics most at risk.

You can download the Aon Asia Market Review here.

Posted on: 08/02/2017 UTC+08:00


Parkway Life REIT, which is owned by IHH Healthcare, has acquired five properties in Japan for ¥4.8 billion (US$42.2 million). It has bought four nursing homes and one group home from Marubeni Corporation, UBI Kabushiki Kaisha and UBI Capital Kabushiki Kaisha.
Chinese medical products conglomerate Shandong Weigao Group Medical Polymer has appointed Wu Xue Feng as chief financial officer. This follows the resignation of Cui Jin.
Singapore-based healthtech startup mClinica has raised US$6.3 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Silicon Valley based Unitus Impact and joined by London headquartered Global Innovation Fund, MDI Ventures of Indonesia, and Endeavor Catalyst of the US. Existing investors 500 Startups, IMJ Investment Partners and Kickstart Ventures also participated.
SGX-listed healthcare provider Healthway Medical Corporation (HMC) has warned that it expects to record a loss for the fourth quarter of the year and for 2016 as a whole. “The loss is mainly attributable to the significant impairment of certain receivables, as well as goodwill,” it said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange.
New Zealand-based cancer diagnostics company, Pacific Edge (PEB) has raised NZ$8 million (US$5.7 million) in a share placement. The placement was undertaken at no discount to market, with institutional and other select investors subscribing for new shares at A$0.50 per share, the market price of PEB shares on 14 February.
In its second announcement in a week, Dublin-based and ASX listed IT healthcare company Oneview Healthcare has announced a collaboration agreement with US technology giant Intel to accelerate time-to-market patient experience software.
Australian medtech company Medibio has appointed US-based Jack Cosentino, as CEO and managing director. Cosentino’s experience includes over 20 years of senior leadership and executive roles in medical device and medical technology companies.
Women’s healthcare specialist Singapore O&G (SOG) has followed its impressive H1 results last summer with spectacular full year results. It has reported a 64.8% rise in profits to S$8.8 million (US$6.2 million) on revenues that were up 74.7% to S$28.7 million.


Healthcare Partners has increased its hostile takeover bid for NZX-listed specialist medical investment firm Abano Healthcare Group. It is now offering NZ$10.16 per share (US$7.34) per share, up from NZ$10.00 per share. The increased offer takes into account the dividend that Abano paid last month.
Real estate group OUE has made a S$62.9 million (US$44.4 million) takeover bid for financially troubled International Healthway Corporation (IHC), a Singapore-listed integrated healthcare services and facilities provider.
Care home operator Pine Care Group has raised HK$121.8 million (US$15.7 million) in its moderately oversubscribed IPO, making it the year’s second healthcare company to float on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It sold 259.2 million shares at HK$0.69 per share, which was the top of the HK$0.63 – HK$0.69 per share range. Sole sponsor is Guotai Junan Capital.
Oxley Holdings has thrown a lifeline to embattled International Healthway Corporation (IHC), a Singapore-listed integrated healthcare services and facilities provider. The property developer and two of its senior managers have agreed a much needed convertible loan facility of up to S$50 million (US$35.3 million).
The Aon Asia Market Review 2017 report forecasts a net medical inflation rate of 6% in Asia for 2017, marginally down on the 6.3% recorded last year.
Jiadi Yu, principal investment officer at the IFC in Hong Kong, explains why China’s reforms make sure that there will be no slow down in healthcare investment.
In a bad-tempered extraordinary general meeting last week, shareholders at International Healthway Corporation (IHC), a Singapore-listed integrated healthcare services and facilities provider, voted out its entire board. They removed IHC executive director Lim Beng Choo, non-independent non-executive chairman Gerald Lim, as well as independent directors Alviedo Rodolfo Jr San Miguel and Leonard Chia Chee Hyong from the board.
The announcement at the very end of last week that Sime Derby planned to split itself into three was broadly welcomed by the market. At least seven years in the planning, the Malaysian conglomerate said that it wanted “to create three iconic stand alone businesses which will be pure plays in the plantation, property, and trading and logistics sectors”.

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