This post was originally published in the September 2013 issue of our healthcare newsletter China Healthcare Deals+Strategies.
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Improving wound care in China
Dr. Thomas Xie (TX) is a wound care specialist at Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine.
How is healthcare reform impacting wound care?
TX: It’s been a rapid development over the past five years. Hopefully we will see a more mature system taking shape in the next five years.
Specific factors driving demand?
TX: The aging population and a high diabetes prevalence rate (9.7%) are key factors driving demand for advanced wound care products.
What are the main challenges?
TX: Healthcare insurance only cover part of the fees and the patients have to bear most of the costs themselves. Healthcare professionals understanding of wound treatment have increased. Further training is necessary, but lack of faculty, experience and materials are holding back the development.
What are foreign wound care companies doing right in China?
TX: The most successful not only provide products, but also train doctors and nurses. Example of successful initiatives include Novo Nordisk-financed World Diabetes Foundation and Coloplasts’s Access to Healthcare initiatives.
What about emerging Chinese companies?
TX: Chinese firms are still young and their product portfolios are typically very narrow. This is a major weakness. But in terms of features and quality the products of the more advanced Chinese companies are definitely catching up with imported products. In some cases, product quality is on par with the products of the leading multinational players. In the short-term, Chinese firms are likely to be most successful selling into private hospitals (Note: Public Chinese hospitals are considered superior to private Chinese hospitals.)