Health Policy and High-Tech Industrial Development

Health Policy and High-Tech Industrial Development

Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry

Edited by Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer

By weaving together the fields of health economics, industrial organisation and industrial development, this book describes the benefits of promoting a country’s health industry as a way of stimulating its high-technology industrial capacity. The authors illustrate that the development of a country’s health industry not only improves the country’s health status, but also promotes an industry with relatively stable, high-wage employment, creates the potential for exporting goods and services, and produces scientific spillovers that will favourably impact other high-technology industries.

Chapter 8: The Geography of Intangibles: The Case of the Health Industry

Marco R. Di Tommaso, Daniele Paci and Stuart O. Schweitzer

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, industrial economics, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


Marco R. Di Tommaso, Daniele Paci and Stuart O. Schweitzer 1 INTRODUCTION Industrial policy for the promotion of high-tech sectors is desirable under certain circumstances. In particular, as shown by Di Tommaso and Schweitzer in this volume, this could be the case for health care-related sectors, which are usually characterized by advanced technological content. Furthermore traditional industrial policy objectives applied to health sectors can be useful in the light of a new approach to health care policy. According to Di Tommaso and Schweitzer (2000), traditional health policies, focused only on cost containment, should be replaced by more comprehensive policies, considering health care expenditures not just as a cost, but as an investment that can have remarkable returns in terms of innovation, employment and trade. In this view, health care is considered as a broad industrial sector. The authors called this model the ‘Health Industry Model’, which is composed of three main actors: providers of health services (hospitals, clinics and other structures), financing organizations (both public and private) and the suppliers of health-related goods and devices. Despite the difficulties of providing a unique definition of ‘high-tech’, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry can be considered hightechnology sectors both in terms of inputs (R&D and highly-skilled personnel) and in terms of outputs (complexity of products).1 As Di Tommaso et al. (2005) noted, one of the most interesting features of high-tech sectors is their reliance on intangible assets (IAs). Intangible assets include nonphysical sources of value for firms, such as patents,...

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