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The healthcare and life sciences industry is simultaneously a new frontier and the backdrop for the daily lives and well-being of millions of people. Industry players deal with an ever-evolving slate of issues as they work toward the ultimate goal to improve peoples' lives, such as:
- The life sciences sector overall is seeing a post-recession resurgence in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity and consolidation, driven partly by pharma interest in biotech offerings. As Big Pharma gears up for the looming "patent cliff" stemming from the expiration of many blockbuster patents, the M&A, joint venture and partnership trend should continue as companies look for new revenue streams. We are also seeing similar consolidation in both the provider sector and the medical device industry.
- With the ever increasing cost of healthcare at both the federal and state government levels, the government has increased its efforts at reducing fraud, waste and abuse in the healthcare system. States Attorney General, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services and various U.S. Attorneys' offices have stepped up their efforts to prosecute companies under multiple theories of fraud and abuse.
- Across the healthcare and life sciences industry, activities ranging from facilities construction to research and development (R&D) efforts are being driven by demographic and health concern shifts. Geriatric care, obesity and diabetes treatment, pain management, gene therapies and personalized medicine continue to see growth.
- New value-based reimbursement models and bundled episodic care payments are driving clinical integration on a national scale. Implementing these structural changes is challenging in an existing federal and state regulatory paradigm that is, in many respects, inconsistent with the integration trends in the industry. A rapidly changing legal landscape is by necessity emerging and the industry will need substantial guidance as this reform process continues over the next several years.
- Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are one hot topic to come out of the Healthcare Reform package, but despite the scramble to form ACOs, the waters remain murky regarding structure, compliance procedures, cost savings to healthcare organizations or patients and whether antitrust issues may arise out of further consolidation among provider segments.
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