Looking at the course of developments — in the healthcare reform "debate" (as it were) and medical technology — it is not a huge leap of judgment to make the following predictions for the ups and downs of healthcare overall and for specific medical technologies.
Predictions for the healthcare market
- A healthcare reform package will pass this year, but it will fall short of what anyone wants or fears (the U.S. will not have a government takeover of healthcare nor become a socialist state despite the outrageous hyperbole flying around and the constrained legislation will do little to address the problems in healthcare).
- Through 4Q 2009, startup and early stage medtech company failures will begin to abate, while new company formations will ramp up.
- Investment and manufacturing will pick up in healthcare. Mid-size and larger companies’ hiring will lag the hiring rate (and relative amounts) of startup and early stage hiring. By year-end 2009, investment will see a BIG uptick at startups, early stage and later medtech companies.
- Regulatory, liability and other adverse scrutiny of medical device, pharma and biotech will reach a fever pitch into late 2009, early 2010.
- Despite the investment and hiring constraints at mid-size and larger medtech companies, stock prices will steadily rise through year-end and into 2010.
In terms of specific technology forecasts…
- Stem cell therapy developments and advances will begin to appear at a startling rate in late 2009.
- The coronary stent market will become increasingly fragmented as new DES products reach the market.
- Traditional general surgical technologies (e.g., "open" procedures") will become rare, eclipsed by single port or incisionless laparoscopy and NOTES procedures. Robotic surgery will continue to draw more headlines than sales.
- Obesity devices and drugs will be one of the most active areas of medical technology developments through 2010 and beyond.
- Despite the intuitive appeal of diagnostic technologies (especially imaging technologies) for preventive medicine, there will be considerable pressure to restrict their use due to their contribution to healthcare costs.