ISSUE #64 – In vitro diagnostics play a pivotal role: between 60% and 70% of healthcare decisions are based on diagnostic test results. Florent Mulatero, General Manager, bioMérieux ASEAN, details the high medical value of diagnostics and his vision of recent developments in South East Asia’s medical landscape.
Could you introduce us to bioMérieux and your activities?
bioMérieux is a family-owned company created in 1963 by Alain Mérieux. As a major player of in vitro diagnostics, we develop high-medical-value diagnostic applications that address public health challenges and laboratory needs, focusing on the fight against infectious diseases. For instance, we are strongly committed to combatting Sepsis, a complex inflammatory process that causes 1 death every 3 to 4 seconds each year, worldwide.
Our expertise and commitment to expanding the frontiers of knowledge in biology are grounded in an entrepreneurial adventure that has been ongoing for more than a century.
Today, we are 10,000 people across the world, present in more than 150 countries. We have been operating in South East Asia for over 25 years, and Singapore is our Asia Pacific headquarters.
Foodborne diseases cause 1 in 10 people to fall ill, each year, worldwide.
How has the medical landscape been evolving in this region?
The medical landscape in South East Asia has evolved dramatically in the past five years. Many governments have reinforced support for their populations with universal health coverage and by introducing new diagnostic recommendations. A growing middle class seeking improved care coupled with a rapidly developing medical tourism scene in the region are accelerating the emergence of private institutions in Singapore and Malaysia. In Singapore, the rising demand for elderly care is shaping government policies and infrastructure decisions.
The threat of massive outbreaks, like the H5N1 flu in 2008, as well as increasing food safety concerns in the region are bringing a greater focus on national-level strategies, geared towards ensuring the safety of populations. A global approach to both human and animal health is a fundamental component in securing a sustainable ecosystem.
As highlighted by the World Health Organisation, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become one of the biggest threats to global health. In South East Asia, the overuse of antibiotics and inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions have contributed to the increase in antibiotic resistance. This makes treating infectious diseases complicated for hospitals, particularly for critical illnesses such as sepsis. For that reason, healthcare companies should work with local public and private institutions in combating AMR to keep antibiotic treatments efficient when required for the patients.
Elderly healthcare costs in Singapore is projected to increase ten-fold to reach US$49 billion annually by 2030.
What is your vision for the medicine of tomorrow?
Medicine has been undergoing massive changes which are impacting healthcare in many aspects. The concept of “P4 medicine” – medicine that is predictive, preventive, personalised and participatory – is a good illustration of the revolution that is taking place in the practice of medicine.
Medicine is in the dark without diagnostics and big data will play a key role here. Capturing health data of populations on a large scale will help healthcare professionals make faster and more accurate diagnostics, ultimately leading to better patient care. Medicine is also shifting towards a personalised approach, taking into consideration each individual’s genetics. The rise of connected devices and other technological innovations have empowered patients, who are better informed and taking active participation in their health.
As for bioMérieux, our goal remains to be faithful to a strong family commitment: serving public health worldwide through the development of diagnostics solutions.
Interview with Florent Mulatero, General Manager, bioMérieux ASEAN
Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #3 2017 “In the Pink of Health”