The acronym ‘BRIC’ was coined in 2001 to describe the largest and most promising emerging markets outside the established, post-war, high-income economies. The nominal GDP growth rates of Brazil, Russia, India and China outpaced the growth rates of Western Europe, North America and Japan before, during and after the global economic crisis. Th is global phenomenon will have a significant impact on many branches of the economy, including the global demand for and provision of healthcare services. The key driver of this economic development is the existence of an enormous middle class in each of the BRIC countries. Both health insurance coverage and the package of services covered by health insurance plans are expanding in BRIC countries. Equally important is the overall increase in purchasing power in BRIC nations, which has been followed by the increased affordability of a vast portion of the medical goods and services that are commonly paid for out-of-pocket by ordinary citizens. When considering the changing landscape of global health care, one should also account for the slow and steady economic growth of most mature, saturated markets. Th is supports the notion that although consumer demand for health services remains strong in wealthy countries, the true expansion of the global market is occurring elsewhere. All major market analysis agencies have acknowledged this development and urged multinational healthcare companies to focus on emerging markets, and BRICs in particular, if they want to survive. Investment in emerging markets will remain the key to long-term profits and sustainability for pharmaceutical firms and medical equipment manufacturers across the globe for many years to come.
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