Every year, more people are getting access to better-quality healthcare. As technology continues to improve, medicine makes significant strides, and the average life expectancy keeps increasing.
As a result, the world is facing an aging population that is only going to get older into the future. Since 1950, the number of people older than 60 has tripled, with 700 million people over 60 as of 2006. This aging population brings a host of issues, ranging from healthcare to mobility. In an attempt to tackle these problems, some companies have developed products and services to aid our elders.
These three companies are developing products that could be used to look after the aging members of society.
In this modern era, one of the things we value the most is convenience -- we want everything done now. When we think of healthcare, however, we imagine long waits and expensive doctor visits. Teladoc (NYSE:TDOC) serves to make this complicated aspect of life simpler and more convenient.
Teladoc is the world's largest telemedicine company, offering remote doctor visits using telephone and video. As of March 2019, Teladoc had over 26 million paid U.S. members, up 33% year over year, and provides services to roughly 40% of the Fortune 500 employers.
While competitors such as PlushCare and American Well are attempting to gain market share, what gives Teladoc an edge is its global scale and tough-to-replicate business. The acquisition of Best Doctors in 2017, followed by the acquisition of Advance Medical one year later, allowed Teladoc to expand to over 130 countries, making it the global leader in comprehensive virtual healthcare.
Revenue has increased significantly due to this global spread. In Q1 2019, revenue increased 43% to $128 million, with international revenue accounting for almost 20% of the total.
As the world's aging population grows, healthcare spending will grow with it. By 2040, healthcare expenditure is set to reach $20 trillion. This gives Teladoc a lot of potential as its affordable and convenient healthcare system will serve the generation that demands everything immediately from the comfort of their smartphone.
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is a company that has always been looking toward the future of our society. Two of the company's lesser-known subsidiaries, Waymo and Calico, will be of great importance to the older members of society in the coming years.
Waymo, formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, develops self-driving car technology with the goal of offering users a driverless taxi service. In December 2018, this self-driving car service was launched in Phoenix as "Waymo One." Customers use an app to request pickup. Although the service will still take years to become available across the U.S., Waymo is continually spreading its operations, and recently acquired permits for these self-driving cars in California.
In 2018, Waymo launched a subsidiary, Huimo Business Consulting, that will oversee the development and testing of self-driving cars in Shanghai. This new venture acquired over $440,000 in funding and will help Google to expand further into China.
Another Alphabet subsidiary, Calico, researches and develops biotechnologies with the goal of combating aging and associated diseases, such as neurodegeneration and cancer. Though the company hasn't developed any drugs or biotechnology products yet, the impressive research team, mixed with sizable financial backing from its parent company, could yield some groundbreaking discoveries in the future.
It's still early days for both of these subsidiaries. For example, Alphabet's revenue from the "other bets" segment -- which includes Waymo and Calico -- increased nearly 12% in the last quarter, only accounting for roughly 0.5% of Alphabet's total revenue. However, both of these companies have a lot of potential and will very likely aid the older population in the years to come.
Another tech giant that will serve the older members of our aging society is Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).
In 2018, Amazon acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy, for $752 million. It's no secret that the cost of healthcare has been rising in recent times. Spending on U.S. prescription medication is about to reach $500 billion per year and is increasing at a rate of 7% annually. With the U.S. spending roughly $1,200 per person each year on prescription drugs, Amazon is attempting to benefit from this growth.
Although operating a business that ships drugs across the country is a complicated task, founding CEO Jeff Bezos previously sat as a member of the board of directors of Drugstore.com, the online business acquired by Walgreens, which subsequently shut it down. This prior experience, as well as Bezos' history of experimentation and innovation, should give him an edge in the space, rivaling the giants CVS Health and Walgreens.
Between Amazon's online pharmacy and Teladoc, people can now see a doctor and get your medication without ever having to leave your house, making life much simpler for those who value efficiency and those who physically struggle to get their health checked.
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MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently hold long positions in Teladoc, Alphabet and Amazon. Read our full disclosure policy here.