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It is no shock that developing countries have the lowest access to healthcare. According to the Global Economic Symposium, “low and middle-income countries bear 93% of the world´s disease burden, yet account for only 18% of world income and 11% of global health spending.” While this lack of access to medical services is common on the demand side of the healthcare industry due to people not being able to afford the costs of the treatment, another prevalent issue occurs on the supply side.

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Research in climate change suggests that even an incremental increase in average global temperatures can trigger disastrous effects around the world. Although efforts are being made to curb carbon dioxide emissions and sustain stable environments, climate scientists warn that “there will still be consequences" if more drastic actions are not taken. Global businesses that depend on vast energy usage are now paying attention to new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

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Russia has been pushing to incorporate nuclear technology in medicine. This process, known as nuclear medicine, involves the use of radioactive substances producing dangerous radiations to gamma rays, beta particles, and alpha particles. Although it may be risky and unsafe, Russia’s increasing participation in the “international market for the production of medical isotopes” has brought tremendous success to the country in the means for fighting cancer.

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Medical breakthroughs have sparked the rise of the robotics industry in the arena of medicine. Through technological advancements, robots have been gaining popularity. There are various types of robots, some are made for personal assistance or social use, but they have seen the most significant growth and evolution in industrial automation. Companies in China have been on the rise to implement the use of robotics in the medical industry to develop new products and to meet consumer demands in order to keep up with medical advancements.

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Researchers have found that the quality of the air that we breathe can affect how we perform in the office. As pollution increases, labor productivity may decrease due to the fact that inhaling polluted air can hinder our “respiratory, cardiovascular, and cognitive function”China, along with many other industrialized countries, have experienced a decline in worker productivity due to the extensive air pollution and climate change.

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Despite the fact that shares of the world's top tobacco companies reached record highs in recent weeks, AXA, one of the world's biggest insurers, has decided to sell all of its assets in the tobacco industry. Over $2 billion in assets will be divested, and AXA will cease all further investment. This huge announcement follows new tobacco laws in the United Kingdom regarding uniform packaging, as well as large graphical health warnings that will go into effect in less than a year. With investors retracting funds and government laws emphasizing health concerns, will this mark the beginning of the end for the tobacco industry? 

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The World Health Organization (WHO) will convene in an emergency committee in Geneva, Switzerland this Monday, January 31. The topic of this emergency meeting will be the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is spreading “explosively” across Latin America. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, addressed the executive board stating that “The level of alarm is extremely high…Questions abound. We need to get some answers quickly.” 

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Given the myriad of groundbreaking new biotechnology products coupled with accelerating costs of research, development, manufacturing, and regulatory mandates, the healthcare industry today finds itself at a crossroads. Consumers, hospitals, and governments are petitioning for fairly priced goods and services without compromising top-tier quality or extending risk exposure. However, the narrowing global economic environment is persuading market-leading manufactures to reevaluate not only their value chain processing, but also their premium pricing models. Under the aforementioned conditions, it is often in the best interest of suppliers, consumers, and shareholders to empower profit maximization by outsourcing core operational services for efficiency.

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What is something that we have we learned from medical epidemics? Globalization is a gift and a curse. As the world continues to unite and globalize goods, services, and cultures, there is one element that is still lagging behind - the globalization of healthcare. With globalization, traveling has never been easier as you can go from and to any part of the world in 24 hours. On top of that, growing cooperation between countries has decreased the alertness on country borders. Ultimately, this has become one of the causes of the global spread of diseases and infections, since they can spread at a rapid and dismantling pace. Attempts at addressing this problem and increasing globalization have been demonstrated through medical tourism, which has made progress but also suffered some setbacks.

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International trade has allowed business to grow all around the world and has created an interconnected marketplace for goods and services. However, despite these major benefits, risks have also emerged. Experts estimate that 10 percent of medicinal goods around the world are counterfeit and the sale of counterfeit medicine has risen 90% in the last five years. This phenomenon has been attributed to the increasing amount of merchandise crossing borders and the growing sophistication of counterfeit methods. How has counterfeit medicine affected the global healthcare industry?

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In the global healthcare industry, glocalization is an emerging trend. Glocalization, a term derived from combining the words globalization and localization, describes the adaptation of global products and services to meet the needs of people in a specific geographic location. Many healthcare industry challenges are shared around the world; however, the effects of these challenges are generally influenced by local issues. A surge in global healthcare spending, along with glocalization, is presenting pharmaceutical companies with both great challenges and opportunities.

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In some of Thailand’s poor villages, there is a new business arrangement that is becoming ever so popular. People from all over Asia are headed to Thailand to seek out surrogate mothers. These families pay Thai women between $10,000 and $20,000 for successful pregnancies, which equates to a monthly allowance hovering around $450, along with free housing in Bangkok. Thailand has publicized itself as a medical tourist destination, providing cheaper options for people all over the world. Thailand is quickly racing up to take the place of the United States as the world’s largest paid surrogacy destination.

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Over the past months the Ebola virus has claimed more than 1,300 deaths in West Africa. This health crisis is continuing to devastate people in West Africa, and is also having a shattering impact on the economies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Early estimates have shown that the economy of these countries have been deflated by 30 percent due to the Ebola virus. The mining and agriculture industries have been hardest hit by the virus outbreak. Domestic economic concerns are certainly not the only problem. In today’s globalized economy, the virus outbreak is affecting international business activity.

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Generating international sales is a difficult task for many small businesses around the world. However, there are a countless number of strategies and opportunities that allow businesses of all sizes to accomplish this challenging feat. In fact, one of the best ways to drive intentional sales for your business is to attend international trade shows where you can display your product to interested buyers. The video posted below by the United States Department of Commerce uses the Health Show in Dubai to explain the benefits of attending an international trade show!

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Let’s begin by contrasting two different medical experiences intended to diagnose heartburn: 1) A catheter is inserted into your body through the nasal cavity and left there for several hours while a measure of acidity is taken or 2) You swallow a pill and wait two hours while a measure of acidity is taken. Although the results of these different procedures are the same, the comfort of the patient and skills required to administer the tests vary significantly. Welcome to the age of wireless health!

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Technology is always changing, causing us to play catch-up on a daily basis. A new trend on the horizon? Mind reading. Today, a variety of consumer products such as games and phone-apps use mind reading technology to captivate users. Last Christmas two new games used mind-reading technology to find the way into many homes. Mattel’s Midflex and Milton Industries Force Trainer both use brain-wave technology similar to the electroencephalograph, which is used to diagnose brain disorders. Many video games are also trying out this new technology. Next year a new Apple app is planned to be released using mind power. This app, Tug of Mind, will be the Apple’s first game controlled by the mind and can be partnered with a NeuroSky headset.

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Hospitals today are fast-paced, frenzied places. The goal, of course, is to get health care to as many people as possible. Hospitals around the world suffer similar problems in that they often have too much health care to administer, and not enough adequate facilities with which to do so. Furthermore, the types of health care that need to be administered are evolving as well, leaving many places with outdated or ineffective facilities with which to handle them. However, the Compass system seeks to alleviate some of these problems.

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Are you interested in learning about the growing areas of patient healthcare and water and waste management and how to take advantage as an exporter? Rapidly-growing economies, strong ties with the United States, and major public health needs put the Gulf Region among the world's most promising markets for U.S. suppliers. To help U.S. firms leverage opportunities in these markets, a senior-level Department of Commerce official will lead a trade mission to Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Doha, Qatar, June 5-10, 2010.

With a strong growing demand for healthcare and water and waste management this mission will be important for any exporter looking to expand into the Gulf Region. Don't miss out on this great opportunity! Apply by March 31st, 2010!

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Professor and author C. K. Prahalad explores how General Electric took a local innovation in the healthcare industry, one designed to help those in the poorest and most remote villages in India and China, and turned it into a global, game-changing product. In his book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, he argues that this is no anomaly, but rather the future of innovation.

The aim of reaching a broader market with the EKG turned into a more efficient, cost-friendly product. Should companies be taking more of a look at developing innovative products to help the rural poor? Could these innovations spread to the global market as well?

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So this past week being sick with the flu, gave me an excellent idea. What should you do as a business as flu season approaches? There is a possibility of a widespread H1N1 outbreak, and employers around the world need to take important steps. Employees are a crucial resource at any business, and especially small businesses. There are steps you can take now, and during the flu season, to help protect the health of your employees.

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In light of the ballooning global cost of providing healthcare to patients, there has been much discussion as to how operations in the healthcare industry can be implemented in a smoother and more cost-efficient manner. One major solution could lie in the efforts of various supply-chain management firms and programs to help hospitals and health care systems reduce their supply chain costs. In addition to supply chain revamps, technological revisions of documentation in the health care industry should have a significant impact in cost-cutting and time-saving.

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Like all good things, globalization has some negative side effects. The current outbreak of swine flu highlights the ability for diseases to be transported quickly around the world, primarily because of how interconnected the global economy has become. It is important for both governments and international business people to arm themselves with the proper knowledge in order to be prepared and put in place the best safeguards for such an event.

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A recent episode of the Oprah Winfrey show highlighted Time Magazine’s 2008 Invention of the Year: 23andMe, a Google-backed startup introducing a retail DNA test. The available-for-purchase personal test provides information on health & traits as well as ancestry, for the user to “see your genes in a whole new light.”

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Medical tourism refers to people who go to foreign countries to get medical help. In recent years, the popularity of medical tourism has been increasing. There are many factors that have contributed to this – high costs of healthcare in industrialized countries, waiting lists in countries with public healthcare, ease and affordability of international travel, and better technology across the world.