The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on hospitals across APAC. Despite being able to control its spread initially, many countries in the region were hit with subsequent waves that are proving harder to manage. Hospital budgets have been affected, creating a new dynamic for medical device manufacturers. By Stephen Sunderland, Fabio La Mola, and Patrick Branch, L.E.K. Consulting.
Containment of the COVID-19 epidemic and its consequent impact on healthcare systems has varied widely across the Asia Pacific countries (APAC). Their national pandemic experiences conform to one of three broad categories: (a) short, sharp flare-ups, typically quelled by determined lock-down measures, often with localized impact; (b) a slow-burn progression of the disease with new cases remaining uncomfortably high (but not spiraling out of control), reflecting a more balanced policy response that includes economic priorities; and (c) uncontrolled exponential spread, the result of a combination of public COVID-19 fatigue and policy complacency (see Figure 1).
The rollout of regional vaccination programs—albeit belatedly relative to some Western markets—and renewed resolve to contain a spate of unexpected outbreaks in South and Southeast Asia is focusing minds on the post-COVID recovery in APAC markets and the implications for healthcare providers and medtech companies.