Saturday, June 12, 2010
A $20 billion industry growing within the healthcare sector -- does anyone in Washington DC care? Or should we let China take the lead?
Brendon Nafziger, writing for DOTmed.com, reported recently on a new study from Scientia Advisers, suggesting that Regenerative Medicine (RM) could grow into a $15-20 billion industry in the next decade-and-a-half. While the idea of RM might lend itself to all manner of sci-fi scenarios, the bulk of RM is likely to be in such comparatively humdrum feels as spinal regeneration--such regeneration, of course, is not humdrum to the patient.
As Lauren Lentini, writing for Fierce Biotech, emphasized in her story on the same report, the biggest RM growth is likely to be in China.
Here at Serious Medicine Strategy, we believe that a rising tide of science can raise all boats, and so it's good to see this research flourishing anywhere, but it would be most optimum for the US if it most flourished here. And so the question: What are American leaders doing to make RM a boom industry in the 21st century, as most Americans--if they fully understood the stakes--would be undoubtedly agree.
And so once again, we come to the perversity of our current healthcare accounting. Is that the US share of that future $15-20 billion judged by DC bean counters to be a "cost," or an "assset"? That is, should those billions spent on healthcare be seen as part of our "excessive" healthcare sector, or should those same billions be seen as a source of jobs and profits and tax revenues, to say nothing of compassionate medical relief?
Obviously the answer is the latter--a robust RM industry is a plus, not a minus. But does our government see it that way? My hunch is that the federal government doesn't bother with such medical issues, because the feds, as we know, are focused on "controlling healthcare expenditures." And compared to, say, cutting Medicare, it's easy to say that we are going to shrink down on speculative medical treatment, such as RM. It's much easier to snuff out a future hypothetical than it is to kibosh a present-day tangible,
But if I am wrong in my gloomy assessment, then I might ask: What is Uncle Sam doing to help this industry, and by extension, all the rest of us?
Posted by James P. Pinkerton at 5:03 PM