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ADIEU 2021!

As India with a huge relief was preparing to bid goodbye to 2021, Omnicron reared its ugly head and all is not well again. While there simply isn’t enough data to draw any firm conclusions about the seriousness of the Omnicron variant, apart from the pharma stocks, the stock markets, anticipating stagflation, crashed. Containing more than 30 mutations, the highest till date in any of the variants of coronavirus, the newly emerged B 1.1.529 has six times higher potential to spread than the Delta variant and will very likely not respond to monoclonal antibody therapy, and also evade the immune system.

Prior to this, Covid in India was slowing down. The fourth national survey in July reported 67.6 percent of people across India had Covid antibodies present. While we seemed to be entering some stage of endemicity; CDC, USA had declared a Level One (lowest threat level) Covid notice for its citizens travelling to India. Europe was heading for a lockdown, with Austria planning to make vaccination mandatory and USA was apprehensive that the combination of Thanksgiving, Christmas and falling temperatures would make this time of the year the perfect storm for Covid. And now, several countries, including the US, Canada and the UK, have announced restrictions on travel from countries in southern Africa, where Omnicron was first discovered.

The FY2022 financial results declared by the listed hospitals and diagnostic centres are very encouraging. For H1 FY2022 over H1 FY 2021, Apollo Hospitals has declared a 51.63 percent increase in total income, Fortis Healthcare 77.15 percent; Max Healthcare 114.7 percent and Aster DM 22.19 percent. The percent increase in net profits in the same period are also at an all-time high. Apollo Hospitals reported a 598.3 percent jump, Fortis Healthcare 425.51 percent, Max Healthcare 197.97 percent and Aster DM 402.34 percent. The listed laboratories, Lal PathLabs, Metropolis, Thyrocare and Vimta Labs also reported higher revenues in the vicinity of 50 percent. Lal PathLabs reported 98.9 percent, Metropolis 110.7 percent, Thyrocare 117 percent and Vimta Labs 211.5 percent in PAT in the same period.

The MedTech industry too having weathered operational disruption, entered a period of recovery and renewal. On a global scale, 94 percent of the commercial leaders and conglomerates that reported their first-half financials for 2021 have improved their revenues compared to 2020. Over the 12 months ending in June 2021, MedTech companies executed 288 M&A deals, attracting USD 9.1 billion in VC, up 34 percent over the previous year and the highest level seen in the past decade.

Having rebounded strongly from the impact of COVID-19 in 2021, to sustain that momentum into the future, the industry needs to focus on ensuring it has patient-centric business models, the tools to capture and use data effectively, an optimal regulatory environment, and resilient supply chains. It also needs to focus on ensuring it is – simply – sustainable. This will be the final and critical component in locking in long-term value for MedTech into the future. With this sound advice from EY, we bring in the new year!

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