The latest study and research done by Gartner Inc suggests that worldwide, end-user spending on wearable devices has increased by 18.1 percent in 2021. The rise in remote work and increased interest in health monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant factor driving the market growth. But if we ask, whether there was a similar growth in people buying health insurance? The answer is no. So, what is this data really indicating?
People investing more in gadgets that measure everything from blood oxygen saturation and heart rate to blood pressure and sleep patterns is nothing but a sign of increasing managed care and a proactive approach to health. Unprecedented events have compelled us to rethink and reassess the way health is looked at.
Till recently, maximum emphasis has been given to curative science and a lot is been invested in this field. However, the pandemic has proven that health is no more about just medicines.
One biggest lesson taught by COVID-19 was that once the damage is done, it is irreversible. Treatments can help to a certain extent, but it eventually makes one dependent on some of the medicines for lifelong and side effects come as a complimentary package.
Another interesting study published by Grands View Research suggests that the global complementary and alternative medicine market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 22.03 percent from 2021 to 2028. Globally, the “right to health” definition is constantly evolving and the overall regulatory scenario is also changing in favor of alternative and complementary healthcare.
Preventive and primary healthcare services are the first line of defence that supports the secondary and tertiary healthcare services of every country. Most of the developing and underdeveloped nations’ tertiary infrastructure is not just limited but its access is also confined only to the metros. Strengthening primary facilities and focusing on preventive healthcare models is thus a necessity.
Building immunity and developing preventive care is highly critical. The transition today is such that everything is getting redefined. Scientists are increasingly looking to food products to help prevent the illness, slow disease progression, and treat symptoms. This has resulted in double-digit growth of the nutraceutical industry as well. To extend the disease-free life span by preventing and limiting disease complications, nature-based remedies are acting as complementary to the mainstream treatments.
The trend suggests that by the time patients resort to and receive conventional medicine and treatment for the ailment, in a majority of the cases, the severity is already multiplied. With pandemic or no pandemic, the shift towards preventive healthcare is here to stay and it will offer tremendous opportunities for the nutraceutical industry.
Since April 2020, we have seen a surge in demand for dietary supplements, and preventive wellness products. Looming uncertainties around the third wave, threat of new strains of the virus, all have further boosted the sales of various immunity-boosting products in the market. In fact, with people taking overall health seriously, other categories are also exhibiting consistent double-digit growth quarter on quarter.
Eye health products, stress-relieving supplements, sleep disorders, anxiety – all these have seen good traction in the last year. Pandemic has impacted consumers in many ways and it has completely transformed the way nutraceuticals in specific and healthcare, in general, is perceived today.
The importance of traditional medicines gained its due recognition, with sustainable cure methodologies of Ayurveda at the helm. The shifting patterns from sick care to preventive care and complete wellness is pertinent to imbibe, resulting in longevity and gratification. Hence, what is come into being now is an extension of informed lifestyle choices influencing the dynamics of a changing healthcare model.
(Sanjaya Mariwala is Executive Chairman and Managing Director, Omniactive Health Technologies Ltd and Founder President of the Association of Herbal and Nutraceuticals Manufacturers of India (AHNMI))
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