Healthcare now looms as one of the greatest challenges for governments across the world, as various world trends combine in a daunting mix. Our population is now aging at a far greater rate than at any time in history, people are living longer and disease profiles are changing. Health services will come under increasing pressure to cope with rising rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease with an estimated one billion people (one in six) now overweight or obese.
The World Health Organisation estimates that one-third of the world’s population is currently denied access to the medicines they need. Globalisation and the ease of travel have also heightened the threat of global pandemics such as bird and swine flu.
Responsible investment professionals research the activities of the pharmaceutical industry to assess their strategic goals and risk profile in these critical areas. Over decades, this research has uncovered many unfavourable practices.
For instance, it has exposed the misuse of patents, poor access to medicines in emerging nations, inappropriate government influence, unethical research and trial techniques and the inflating of medical costs due to expenditure on pharmaceutical marketing.
On a more positive note, responsible investors seek out pharmaceutical and healthcare companies that have built sustainable business strategies.
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