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Infusion pumps and the Indian market

Infusion pumps in India are classified into two – syringe pumps and volumetric pumps. The syringe pumps are normally used in ICUs, CCUs, NICUs, and other emergency areas, where concentrated drugs are delivered continuously over a long period of time. Volumetric pumps are used to deliver mostly high volume over a short period of time. The accuracy of syringe pumps is better as the container is a syringe barrel, which is of a uniform size. The accuracy of a volumetric pump can only be achieved if the IV administration sets are also manufactured in a consistent manner and specific for the pump’s application. These disposables become expensive, and hence the volumetric pumps in India are used on any IV administration set, making these less accurate than the syringe pumps. Hence, volumetric pumps are mostly used in wards on less critical patients to deliver fluids.

The use of volumetric pumps is going to be time saving for the nurses. When fluids are infused on gravity, the flow gets obstructed when the patient’s position changes, or over time due to clotting. This makes the nurse attend multiple times to ensure steady infusion of fluids. A volumetric pump maintains a constant flow at a pressure, thereby overcoming the obstruction caused due to the patient’s position or clotting.

The Indian market nowadays uses three or four pumps continuously on an ICU bed. So the need for smaller and compact syringes and volumetric pumps is the need of the market. A docking station, which can have all pumps powered easily and fixed conveniently without having to power multiple power cords, is also the trend these days. Connectivity to transfer data to central systems has still not caught up, and may take a few years as the eco system of the entire hospital needs to be ready.

AKAS Infusions stands for Advanced Knowledge on Accurate and Safe Infusions. AKAS was a start-up in 1996, doing research in the infusion pump segment. The success rates of start-ups are always low, and AKAS turned out to be one of the success stories. Today AKAS has over 200 Indians directly employed, with indirect employment to another 300 Indians. If not for AKAS, the MNCs would have priced the pumps far higher than what they are now, and pumps would not have been affordable for every hospital and patient. The prices of the pumps of MNCs are far higher in countries where there are no domestic manufacturers like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, etc. AKAS has more than 60 engineers in the field from Kashmir to Kanyakumari with presence in every state. Infusion pumps have moving parts and are subject to rough handling; it is a mobile unit, and hence after-sales service is a must. AKAS has more than 30 direct service engineers in the field and more than 75 distributors taking care of after-sales service.

Each MNC brand was numero uno in the Indian market at one point or another. When one brand lost share, it went to another MNC brand. This happened since 1990 and four or five MNCs jostled with each other. None was able to stay at the top for long, despite being global leaders with proven good products.

Before embarking on this journey, it was crucial for AKAS to thoroughly understand the Indian market dynamics. This involved analyzing the strategy of market leaders, identifying gaps in their offerings, discerning customer preferences and pain points. Such insights formed the foundation for devising the final competitive strategy. AKAS was able to get a competitive edge by developing infusion pumps that addressed specific needs of the Indian healthcare system. Innovations, such as user-friendly interfaces, and compatibility with varying power sources greatly enhanced the product’s appeal.

Critical concerns of the healthcare industry are product quality and safety. AKAS prioritizes with adherence to international quality standards and regulatory requirements. Acquiring necessary certifications and consistently delivering reliable, safe, and efficient infusion pumps among healthcare professionals, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth has been of paramount importance. AKAS follows certain ground rules. These include establishing local manufacturing facilities, significantly reducing lead time. Well-optimized supply chain ensures steady and efficient flow of products to hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country. Offering responsive customer support, maintenance services, and readily available spare parts establishes strong after-sales relationship. Innovation is an ongoing process. AKAS allocates resources for continuous research and development to stay ahead of market trends and evolving healthcare needs. Regularly introducing updated models with enhanced features maintains the brand’s relevance.

In order to sustain in the Indian market with steady growth needs good and competitively priced products, excellent after-sales service, user friendly, safe-to-use features, with emphasis on long life. AKAS offers safety and good-practice training for nurses, and drug labels and additional value-added services, which are well received by customers. AKAS has grown its market share steadily, and today it is the largest selling infusion pump in India, having left MNCs behind. AKAS thanks its customers who have supported the company to what it is today. 

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