The great news for small island communities is that developments in bio-technology and bio-medicine globally will introduce the potential for dramatic changes in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of many ailments. Remote provision of health services is particularly important where insularity and lack of sizeable population make it difficult for communities to provide the level of technical expertise across the wide range of specialist healthcare services.
Although providing cost effective, high quality healthcare for the Isle of Man’s community is a challenge for Government, its ability to be responsive, flexible and innovative continue to be key advantages. Advances in bio-technology and bio-medicine provide the Island with opportunities to utilise telemedicine services, access specialist skills remotely and become early-adaptors of the best of new devices, systems and protocols.
The Isle of Man already has a small but thriving biomed sector with local companies engaged in a wide range of activities. For example, BodyStat, which produces equipment to analyse body composition through bioelectrical-impedance analysis (BIA), has been on the Island for over 25 years. Other companies include SEQ, experts in pharmaceutical advice, regulatory strategy and regulatory affairs; Nazelese, long-established on the Island, developer and manufacturer of the world’s first powdered nasal spray which now has a significant global market presence; Prometic Biosciences, currently expanding its facilities on the Isle of Man, has three areas of business focus, therapeutic plasma proteins, small-molecule drug discovery and bioseparations; Highland Scientific’s core business revolves around thin film deposition technology and techniques and its sister company Manx Graphene is developing a novel process for the production of wide area graphene on the Isle of Man; and Panacea, a pharmacovigilance company with a client base which includes global pharma companies. Clearly, the Isle of Man has much to offer as a location for biomed activity, the Isle of Man Government is fully supportive and the thriving Manx Biomed Association is proof that the strategy is working.
In complete contrast to the Isle of Man in terms of geographical location, economy and size, India is also committed to developing the opportunities created by the rapid changes in the provision of medical services. According to the Times of India, the Indian healthcare sector is anticipated to grow annually at a rate of 15% for the next five years; it is projected to generate US$155 billion 2017, at which point it will be among the largest revenue-generating sectors in India. What factors have given rise to this growth?
Economic growth in India has meant a significant increase in lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes while the massive indigenous population coupled with medical tourists have created a virtuous circle of increased investment, greater patient throughput with consequent increase in expertise and further investment in top quality facilities.
These factors have promoted a wide range of activities and investment in the Indian healthcare industry and increased availability and affordability of healthcare services such as diagnostics, pharmacies and equipment. In addition, lower cost of procedures have added further to India’s development as a destination for medical tourism and a base for clinical trials.
India is planning to open its first medical device industrial park in Gujarat and discussions are underway for a second park in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu as part of the “Make in India" campaign. The Make in India program is part of a wider set of nation-building initiatives devised to transform the country into a global design and manufacturing hub. Many new policies are in the planning stages as India seeks to emulate its success in pharmaceutical manufacturing in the medical device domain.
While India’s size and many differences from the Isle of Man may appear to make it inappropriate to make comparisons, in reality the fundamental economic, business and medical logic are identical. Specialising in a few, clearly defined areas, such as medical devices and some of the small offshoots of the disaggregating pharmaceutical industry, is the key when there are so many diverse opportunities available. The Island is benefiting financially, in terms of superb job opportunities from bio medicine and from access for its healthcare provision to emerging technologies John O’Driscoll, Managing Director, Highland Scientific and Manx Graphene told us, “I feel totally positive about the Isle of Man and our future here. It has all the right ingredients to build a successful business.” This quote from a successful businessman who has chosen the Isle of Man to develop his business, is worth more than any publicity blurb.
Find out more about the ManxBioMed Association