Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry
Edited by Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer
Chapter 8: The Geography of Intangibles: The Case of the Health Industry
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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