Health insurers and life-sciences, including pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, face several headwinds globally in the face of rising costs and the need to expand access to innovative therapies, which often are more expensive. The challenges are further exacerbated in Asia, given the generally low affordability thresholds due to lower premiums and lower reimbursement limits, compared to the developed markets in the West.
Asia is increasingly becoming a key growth market for both global health insurers as well life-sciences players. They have the same target customers and face similar set of challenges in Asia –
- How can they increase their penetration, tap on to the immense opportunities in the fast-growing markets and establish their beachheads
- How can they bring a greater value proposition to their customers?
- How can they differentiate from the competitors in a sector which is fast becoming commoditised?
- How can they effectively engage the decision-makers i.e. the physicians to steer them towards appropriate and cost-effective (which may not be the cheapest) therapies?
A paradigm shift leveraging an ecosystem-level partnership is required to effectively address these business objectives.
Instead of seeing each other at the opposite ends of the tug-of-war, both insurers and life-sciences players should see an opportunity to reset roles and relationships in the Asian markets. Each of them brings complementary strengths in addressing the Asian challenges for providing higher quality and lower cost access for healthcare therapies, and together they need to envision how they can leverage these strengths to create synergies.
In this article, we review how health insurers and life-sciences companies including pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, can create opportunities to increase access to high-cost therapies in Asia by bringing their complementary strengths together. In the conventional setting, life-sciences companies and insurers have seen themselves at the opposite ends of the negotiation table, with the revenues of one being the costs of the other. However, working together they can upend the traditional value chain to create a win-win proposition for themselves and the patients. Through this analysis, we hope to capture a nuanced perspective of the benefits of such ecosystem opportunities and how insurers and life-sciences players can design and plan effective partnership constructs.