EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

The biomedical healthcare sector - what future?

Sector Futures provides specialised reports based on the monitoring of existing foresight studies, scenario work, innovation studies and reliable data sources. January 2006 features the complete Sector Futures article series on the biomedical healthcare sector. It sets out by defining the sector, outlining its market size, structure and employment figures, and looks at the trends and drivers shaping the sector. Subsequent articles assess the impact and review some scenario work relating to the sector’s future before concluding with an analysis of major policy issues and challenges facing the industry.

The biomedical healthcare sector comprises biotechnologies dedicated to the treatment of human beings. It is a young industry, engaged in the most advanced biological research and aiming to create innovative products. Biomedical healthcare is relatively free from traditional employment patterns and seeks, through new flexible forms of employment and the nature of its work, to attract a highly-qualified workforce.

However, the institutional framework of the biomedical healthcare sector is far from being the same in all European countries, which has led to considerable differences between the industry in several countries within Europe. The Sector Futures articles caution that unless a more uniform approach is adopted across Europe, the European biomedical healthcare industry may not live up to its growth potential.

From defining trends and drivers…

The first article of three, Biomedical healthcare industry - what future?, delineates the biomedical healthcare industry in the EU15 plus Norway and Switzerland. It looks at key features of the sector, including the size and structure of its market, the nature of employment, the main trends and drivers shaping the present and future of the industry and the principal issues and uncertainties at stake in the industry.

…towards visions for the future

Following the overview of the sector and initial look at trends and drivers in the first article of this series, the second article, Biomedical healthcare industry - visions of the future, focuses on the main factors shaping the present and future of the industry. It assesses the major trends and drivers, provides a STEEP analysis and puts forward four alternative scenarios for the biomedical healthcare industry. The article also examines why the European biomedical healthcare industry is lagging behind the US, and is facing increasing competition from companies in developing markets.

Policy implications

Having looked at the trends and scenarios and their implications, the third and last article in this series, Biomedical healthcare industry - policy issues and major challenges, discusses policies that could enhance the international competitiveness of the European biomedical healthcare industry. It looks particularly at issues related to bioethics, globalisation, economic growth and employment, as well as demographics and welfare.

All three articles are available for downloading free of charge as one pdf file: Sector Futures - The biomedical healthcare sector (pdf1.33 Mb).
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