Financial intelligence for Asia's healthcare markets
Remember me:

Analysis: The bias against diabetes

The latest Sun Life Financial Asia Diabetes Awareness Study reveals an alarming knowledge gap in diabetes. A third of Asian women who are or were pregnant in the past three years are unaware of the risk of developing gestational diabetes in pregnancy, while one in seven births in Asia is currently affected by gestational diabetes.

The prevalence of diabetes is a growing health challenge in the region. “Sun Life has commissioned study to demystify this chronic disease,” said Jeremy Young, chief marketing officer, Sun Life Financial Asia. “It aims to bridge the knowledge gap and promoting positive perception change towards diabetes, helping people live healthier lives – both physically and mentally, in addition to achieving lifetime financial security,”

Almost a third of respondents in the region do not even know there is more than one type of diabetes. Hong Kong, one of the most developed surveyed markets, sees the lowest level of awareness with 40% of respondents not knowing this fact, whereas the Philippines demonstrates a better basic understanding of diabetes, with 85% of respondents stating they are aware of the fact.

“As evidenced by Hong Kong people’s misunderstanding of diabetes, more efforts should be devoted to address the issue,” said Belinda Au, general manager of distribution and marketing, Sun Life Hong Kong.  “In Hong Kong, Sun Life has been partnering with diabetes organisations to educate the public on the disease and will continue to be committed in doing so to raise public awareness.”

The survey also finds that respondents believe diabetes decreases life expectancy by 19 years on average, when in fact, the average is between 10 and 12 years: a significant gap between perception and reality.

About half of the respondents from Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong believe that diabetes represents a burden on public healthcare systems.

On average, respondents across the region estimate that a person with diabetes has to pay approximately US$1,778 for treatment every year. Hong Kong tops the list – with the estimate at approximately US$4,400 whereas the four southeast Asian markets record an average estimate of below US$1,120. When comparing the estimate with each market’s GDP per capita, Vietnam is the most extreme case where the cost estimate is more than half of its GDP per capita (approximately US$2,310) whereas the figure accounts for one tenth of Hong Kong’s GDP per capita – approximately US$45,000.

“The alarming prevalence of diabetes in Asia will continue to put economic burden on the public healthcare systems, as well as on diabetics and their families,” added Young.

The study reveals the public’s bias towards diabetics and strong associations with unfavourable characteristics, such as dangerous driving, laziness, lack of energy, not being athletic and having mood swings. Such stigma also exists in Hong Kong, where more than half of respondents think that diabetics are not energetic.

Au continued: “Social stigma towards diabetics adversely impacts the mental health and wellness of diabetics, yet it is often overlooked. With Sun Life’s purpose in helping people live healthier lives – both physically and mentally in addition to achieving lifetime financial security, we are keen to drive, and hopeful to see, positive perception change and reduce bias against diabetes.”

Posted on: 14/11/2017 UTC+08:00


Brisbane-based Oventus has raised A$7.6 million (US$5.8 million) selling 13.8 million shares at A$0.55 per share. The deal was heavily oversubscribed with strong support from new and existing institutional and sophisticated investors.
After postponing its up to US$150 million IPO in March 2015, Malaysian-based primary healthcare provider Qualitas Medical Group is gearing up to launch another IPO attempt on the SGX in the first quarter of next year. The size remains the same.
Ryman Healthcare, New Zealand’s largest listed retirement village operator, has bought Victoria University of Wellington’s former Karori campus which will be converted into a retirement village with independent and serviced apartments and a care centre. Although financial terms have not been disclosed, it is estimated to have been sold for NZ$20 million (US$13.8 million).
Singapore-based medtech company Advent Access has raised S$2.6 million (US$1.9 million) pre-Series A financing led by Accuron MedTech, the largest medical device company in southeast Asia. It is the largest pre-Series A financing round by a medtech startup across the region.
Hang Seng-listed Golden Meditech has taken a 50% stake in Japanese real estate management company ASA for ¥425 million (US$3.7 million). Magnum Opus, which is owned by Kam Yuen, Golden Meditech’s chairman and controlling shareholder, holds the remaining 50%.
In the latest move of their long-running patent dispute, New Zealand-based medical device manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has filed a patent infringement proceeding in the Federal Court of Australia against ResMed, the Australian manufacturer of products for the treatment of sleep disorders, and several of its related companies.
Singapore-based managed healthcare provider Fullerton Health has acquired a 60% stake in the Intellicare Group, one of the leading managed care providers in the Philippines. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
Vital Healthcare Property Trust, the only NZSX-listed healthcare property fund, has acquired Eden Rehabilitation Hospital in Cooroy, Queensland for A$23.8 million (US$17.9 million).


The world’s first healthcare development impact bond aimed at reducing the number of maternal and newborn deaths in Rajasthan, India, launched last week.
The rise of 3D printing technology in medicine and healthcare is challenging existing regulatory frameworks as higher risk 3D printed medical devices are developed. Tracy Lu, senior associate for Allens in Sydney, explains that Australia is at the forefront of dealing with this regulatory reassessment.
In the third part of his series about operating healthcare companies across the APAC region, Marcus Pitt, managing partner of Fortuna Corpus Asia, focuses on the opportunities in the Philippines.
The promise of a bottom in Singapore’s office market has caused its ranking as an investment market to soar from next-to-bottom last year to third in this year’s “Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2018” report, a real estate forecast jointly published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC.
Kamal Brar, vice president and general manager of Asia Pacific for data software company Hortonworks, looks at how data analytics can provide effective and affordable healthcare in Singapore.
The latest Sun Life Financial Asia Diabetes Awareness Study reveals an alarming knowledge gap in diabetes. A third of Asian women who are or were pregnant in the past three years are unaware of the risk of developing gestational diabetes in pregnancy, while one in seven births in Asia is currently affected by gestational diabetes.
Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s minister for health, explains why the private sector needs to get behind the National Electronic Health Record System.
Business leaders in Asia Pacific’s healthcare industry are showing urgency in embracing the fourth industrial revolution, according to the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Survey. More than three-quarters of them believe that they need to transform to a digital business to enable future growth and yet only a quarter said that they have a full digital strategy in place today.




Hedge Fund Focus

HealthInvestor Asia twitter feed
HIA Indices