Humans’ health during 2020 was affected by SARS-CoV-2, which is expected to continue during 2021. As of December 31, 2020, 1.83 million people passed away. Economies such as the United States and the European Region have allocated a big part of their resources to research and develop treatments for this new virus. Expenditure on masks, antibacterial gel, gloves, oximeters, oxygen tanks, and inspirometers has increased considerably among consumers.
Pharmaceutical companies started to develop treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. The companies that have stood out in this competition are Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, and CanSino. Each dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine costs 1.78 euros, while Pfizer’s costs 12 euros. These companies have begun to distribute their vaccine as more countries approve their use under the category of a health emergency (that means it is just for a limited time).
There is an opportunity for pharmaceuticals to sell the treatments of diseases that are generated by COVID-19. The virus affects multiple organs, i.e., lungs (pneumonia / lasting damage to the alveoli), heart (heart failure), kidneys, intestines, vascular system (venous thrombosis), and brain (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and strokes). It also increases the possibility of developing post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety. More than 68% of patients with COVID-19 present failures in these organs and develop their respective diseases.
Despite the strong implications of the health crisis, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases must be taken into account as they are the main cause of mortality throughout the world. The main factors that contribute to the development of NCDs are the economic transition, rapid urbanization processes, and the ways of life of the XXI century.
For the healthcare sector, Deloitte expects an annual increase in expenditure of 5% until 2023. Care delivery and finance operations markets will grow between 10% and 18% annually (McKinsey, 2020). There are opportunities for investing in the R&D sector, especially in AI and robotics.
This article is in our Market Outlook 2021
Daniela Barrueta Huerta, BSc in Economics
Fernando Balandran-Oviedo, BSc in Economics