Have you met anyone who preferred sickness over health or who given quality of life wanted to die before their time? Not many, if any, I would venture and that’s why the outlook for the healthcare industry is good. The demand is always there!
Today, with breakthroughs in drug technology transforming the outlook in rare diseases and cancer, stem cell and gene therapy on the horizon and ideas like Microsoft’s re-programming of cancer cells we are in an amazing place. Science fiction is becoming reality!
But unfortunately, just because we can do it doesn’t mean that everyone will benefit
These innovations are expensive and healthcare systems struggle to cope. As a result, some people ask philosophical questions like ‘what is the value of a human life?’. Whilst others ask practical questions like ‘how can we make this technology cheaper?’. There seem to be no easy answers but without answers perhaps it will be only the rich who will benefit.
It won’t be the first time, of course. In the developed world pharmaceutical innovation over decades has revolutionised healthcare but in the developing world many had no access to it and many still don’t! Now with a new generation of amazing advances being unleashed, more people everywhere may face the prospect of missing out too. This, of course, would not only be bad news at a human level, it would also be bad for the future of innovation driven by return on investment.
The future is supposed to be about progress and for many, if not all of us, health and well-being are a fundamental part of that progress. Solving how we afford it may be at least as challenging as creating the breakthroughs themselves but surely it will be done. After all, the dismal alternative of ‘if only we could afford it’ is not the kind of future that any innovative society should contemplate, is it?