Breaking taboos: the welcome ascension of FemTechs in the healthcare market
The International Women’s Day, celebrated on every March 8, focus on the so well-deserved achievements of women over the years in the context of cultural, political and socioeconomic aspects, bringing special attention to the particular rights regarding the gender equality, reproductive issues and violence or abuse against the female population. In connection with this, it is important to highlight the recent development of new trends in the healthcare ecosystem specially focused on women’s health – including cisgender, transgender and non-binary women.
Today the emerging FemTech global market, from the healthcare perspective, can be distinguished (i) by type, such as devices per se, software as a medical devices and services, (ii) by end-use, such as direct-to-consumer initiatives, hospitals, fertility clinics, surgical centers and diagnostic centers, and (iii) by application, such as reproductive health, pregnancy & nursing care, pelvic & uterine healthcare.
During the pandemic, among the rules of shelter-in-place, quarantine and social distancing, the so-called FemTechs have been gaining traction under the need and readiness to maintain the healthcare access for women and girls beyond remote clinical means, specially related to gynecological, pregnancy, fertility and postpartum monitoring, and also the care of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes. All these facts linked to the statistical and historically tendency of women being more adept at taking care of their own health than the male public – often stagnated in the “macho mentality” of masculinity – , including a routine check-ups and periodic exams, consultations and tracking of potential diseases, and the particular supervision that women’s health requires during menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, breast or uterine cancer, menopause and other gender-specific concerns.
Considering the regulatory & policy issues schemes, the FemTechs initiatives may be subject to a series of rules that affect the marketing of products or the provision of health services through the use of new technologies, such as the ones related to the regulation of telemedicine, medical devices, assisted reproduction techniques, clinical trials, data protection, among many others.
It is important to highlight that this healthcare segment focused on the development of technological solutions for women’s health generated US$ 18.75 billion in 2019, when the pandemic scenario has started, and is estimated to hit U$1.15 billion by 2025 according to the American consultancy Frost & Sullivan.
In Brazil, twenty-three (23) startups are completely dedicated to the FemTech segmentation up to now, such as Alice, Theia, Pantys, Oya Care and others, which range from tracking menstruation and fertility, to offering solutions for pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. This data demonstrates an opportunity for the development of many initiatives by the Life Sciences, Healthcare and Healthtech industries, such as investments on wearable devices and applications focused on patients’ treatments monitoring, telehealth platforms aimed at the female public (e.g. the recent association between the Brazilian companies TytoCare and Alice), the use of blockchain and predictive analysis tools for genetic counseling, family planning support, hormone replacement and clinical decision, and many other initiatives subject to the aforementioned Brazilian regulatory framework.
This all when put together rings a bell in the sense that prudent major healthcare and healthtech businesses must understand it as fast as they can in order to be well prepared for these rapidly coming changes – even because with the new innovations surrounding this segment comes advancements in technology in many other adjacent markets.
This article describes the current thinking at Campos Mello Advogados on these topics and should not be viewed as a legal opinion.
Campos Mello Advogados is a Brazilian law firm which has worked in cooperation with DLA Piper LLP across the globe since 2010.
Partner, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Cannabis
Victoria Cristofaro Mendes Leite
Associate, Life Sciences, Healthcare, Cannabis
 HARVARD HEALTH PUBLISHING. Harvard Medical School. “Mars vs. Venus: The gender gap in health”. Published on August 26, 2019. Available at < https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/mars-vs-venus-the-gender-gap-in-health >. “[…] Medical care. Women think about health, and they do more about it. Women are more likely than men to have health insurance and a regular source of health care. According to a major survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, three times as many men as women had not seen a doctor in the previous year; more than half of all men had not had a physical exam or cholesterol test in the previous year. In general, men who have the most traditional, macho views about masculinity are the least likely to get routine check-ups and necessary medical care”.
 Operating in this space means addressing a host of regulatory, investment, healthcare, banking, bankruptcy, tax, real estate, intellectual property, corporate, finance, insurance, privacy, and employment law issues, but, at this point in time for the sake of illustration, we should highlight two undeniable trends we have been seeing: (1) Innovative business arrangements, including corporate partnering and strategic alliances, and (2) Intellectual property and technology development, exploitation and protection.
 EMERGEN RESEARCH. “Femtech Market”. Published on August, 2020. Available at < https://www.emergenresearch.com/industry-report/femtech-market >
 FROST & SULLIVAN. “Menopause to Become the Next Game-changer in the Global Femtech Solutions Industry by 2025”. Published on March 8, 2022. Available at < https://www.frost.com/news/press-releases/femtech-after-covid-19-how-to-break-the-bias-and-meet-womens-untapped-healthcare-needs-in-2022/ >
 TYTOCARE. “Brazilian Health Tech Company Alice Partners with TytoCare to Expand Telehealth Offerings with At-Home Medical Examinations”. Published on February 22, 2022. Available at < https://www.tytocare.com/professionals/brazilian-health-tech-company-alice-partners-with-tytocare-to-expand-telehealth-offerings-with-at-home-medical-examinations/ >