Report: Bad lifestyles fuel diagnostics boom in emerging markets

You might think that a boom in "unhealthy lifestyles," such as less exercise and bad diets loaded with fatty foods, would be bad. More infectious diseases and higher rates of cancer also should be pretty sobering. They are, of course, but those elements, combined with population growth in Russia, India, China and Brazil present an economic gold mine for the in vitro diagnostics market for years to come, according to a new industry report.

The international research outfit GlobalData sees both factors as pushing the in vitro diagnostics markets in the aforementioned countries to climb by 16% annually, reaching a combined $11.7 billion by 2018. Of course, China--the world's most populous country and biggest in vitro diagnostics market of all emerging countries--will generate the biggest part of that number (56%), the report's authors say. Next comes Brazil, the second largest, and then India and Russia.

Some of that growth will come from technology improvements, a shift toward diagnostic tests at the point of care and cost cutting measures, the researchers note. But "lifestyle disorders" and the growth of infectious disease is the major driver here, they say. China, for example, has invested $123 billion since 2009 in building hospitals and healthcare facilities in rural parts of the country, which creates huge new markets for devices and diagnostics. And while the other countries face a population boom, India has one of the highest rates of growth, with expectations the country will have more than 1.7 billion people by 2050. At that point, it will speed past China and become the world's most populous country.

As far as infectious diseases, GlobalData notes that the four countries are dealing with high rates of cancer and cardiovascular disorders, but also a lot more infectious diseases. All of these, the researchers believe, will propel a booming demand for disease-related diagnostics tests, but also testing that can identify tumor and cardiac markers.

- here's the release