Moving across cultural and political frontiers, medical knowledge has now factored in the diversity of therapeutic practices. A number of companies have tried to bolster the trend of medical innovation with new drugs and practices tailored to Asian body types and lifestyles. This will help in reducing bias of modern medicine towards Western nations. As Stephan Schuster, GenomeAsia 100K Scientific Chairman and Nanyang Technological University Professor, says: “There is a massive bias in medical research; Europeans have been developing drugs for Europeans without asking how compatible these pharmaceuticals are for the rest of the world.” For example, med-tech start-ups are preparing tests that can detect tumours accurately in Asian women who have denser breast tissue. There are several drug makers tackling obscure (to Western medicine) cancers in Asia. With Asia’s booming economy and increase in income, spending on healthcare has reached a new high. This has encouraged many pharmaceutical companies to make their presence stronger in the region. Consultancy Frost & Sullivan predicts that total revenue for the Asian healthcare industry will jump 11 per cent this year to $517 billion.
There has been a shift from the ‘one size-fits-all’ strategy. Researchers believe that both disease and cure may work differently with a change in the profile of the population. Where once the healthcare industry would seek validation from Western doctors and patients for new products before allowing them to penetrate Asia, the whole scenario is changing as firms are going the other way for some diseases. Asia has more than four billion people, making up more than half of the world's population. Tailormade drugs and treatments for the Asian population is the new gig in town.