Reforms in China, along with increasing incidence of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and STDs, provide new opportunities for point-of-care, advanced tests and molecular diagnostics, reports medical market research publisher Kalorama Information.
China’s potential as a point of care (POC) market was already growing when the coronavirus focused the country’s healthcare system on in vitro diagnostic (IVD) and imaging testing. China has one of the largest economies in the world and its gross domestic product will soon surpass that of the U.S. But it remains a developing country outside the cities where point-of-care testing (POCT), until quite recently, played a relatively insignificant role.
The POC testing market in China is closely aligned with government hospital clinics, reports Kalorama Information in the 2021 industry study The Market and Potential for Molecular Point of Care. Government hospitals dominate the clinical laboratory landscape in China, and associated doctors and overall hospital operations are heavily dependent upon testing fees, especially with pharmaceutical reform that has limited profits from hospital pharmacies. Private clinics and physician practices represent an ancillary channel for POC testing products. The penetration of analyzers among private clinics and physician practices in China is believed to so far be relatively minor. The development of a private practice industry in China will likely feed the fellow emergent industry of private lab testing, otherwise primary care testing will be provided by hospital labs. The location of most private practices in cities will make sample collection and delivery relatively quick for physicians.
Global initiatives supported by organizations such as the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative; Roll Back Malaria; UNAIDS; United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“Global Fund”); and the WHO have increased screening for some of the most burdensome emerging infectious diseases in developing countries. Some of the programs use rapid tests and some standard microscopic techniques and are performed in community clinics where no formal lab services are available. Significant IVD demand through these international organizations creates POC testing markets in even the least developed countries and regions.
Chinese central and provincial governments have also played a significant role in the expansion of the POC testing market. Screening campaigns have targeted diseases such as HPV, prenatally evident conditions, hepatitis, and infectious emerging diseases such as avian flu and drug resistant tuberculosis. Additional studies have assessed the role of rapid POC tests in sexually transmitted disease control in China.
The Chinese market is very complex and continuously changing. Government reforms will increase funding for public hospitals, decentralized care, and support expanded medical insurance. At the same time, the government will tighten the management and oversight of medical institutions, health insurers, and retailers.
These reforms along with increasing incidence of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and STDs, provide opportunities for point-of-care, advanced tests and molecular diagnostics.