The threat of new entrants in Cosmetic Dermatology depends on 2 main factors. The licensing process and the initial investment. The licensing process for dermatologists has never been an issue in India. But It was a huge barrier in most parts of Middle East. However the regulatory bottle necks are changing fast. The recent socio-political changes in the Middle East may also have a significant effect on this. We can expect an increase in the number of practicing dermatologists in the Middle East in the short to medium term.
There has been no disruptive innovation in the cosmetic devices industry comparable to Botulinum toxin and dermal fillers. The competition is increasing in the device manufacturing arena as well though it has not impacted the revenue stream of the manufacturers, because of the disproportionate increase in the number of dermatologists. Manufacturers have tried to compensate for the lack of innovation by introducing new models with minimal clinical impact. This has lead to the flooding of the market with old models that are not much different from the new models. The distributes have started offering this models on a rental basis. This has significantly reduced the initial investment involved.
New entrants will lower the costs, at the same time add ease and convenience, without much impact on the quality. Consumers will, of course, welcome this though there may be a lag period before they realize that the quality is more or less same. Lower costs obviously means lower profits. The oldies who have branched out are more vulnerable to the blow to their bottom line.
Cosmetic dermatology in these regions is experiencing the same shift seen in banking, retail and entertainment as new entrants whose core business resides outside of dermatology and even healthcare are emerging to capture more of the market. The dermatologist CEOs could look at some of these newbie with a wealth of experience in other sectors. If they are making some headway, don’t hesitate to look for opportunities to partner.
In the next post on this series, I will discuss the threat of substitute products or services. Hate to steal my own thunder, but would your patients prefer to send a digital photo of a rash or skin condition for you to diagnose?