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Life after Covid – What is next?

With the abatement of the pandemic, there is a rebound in businesses of healthcare. Procedures and routine testings have returned. CapEx plans too are back on track.

While Bengaluru in Karnataka and Kozhikode in Kerala are each to get an AIIMS, Uttar Pradesh 3000 PHCs and 47 trauma centers, Assam 17 medical facilities from ACCF, and West Bengal 29 more hospitals, many private hospitals over the country too have announced addition of beds in their respective medical facilities or are adding more centers. Neuberg Diagnostics plans to double its labs in the next two years; Vimta Labs expects to record ₹550 crore in three years, up from ₹278 crore in FY22, having achieved a 32-percent YoY growth; and Metropolis will set up 1800 new collection centers and 90 processing labs in the next three years. Gujarat is getting five new medical colleges at an investment of ₹2500 crore, as are many other states.

Another development is the rise of healthcare-focused funds that have a scale comparable to the tech megafunds through their IPOs. These include Rainbow Children’s Medicare, Yatharth Hospital, Mediassist Healthcare Services, Skanray Technologies, Infinion Biopharma, Healthium Medtech, Veeda Clinical Research, Sahjanand Medical Technologies, Global Health, GPT Healthcare, API Holdings, Kids Clinic India, Macleods Pharmaceuticals, and Portea Medical. In less than a year, 12 healthcare companies have already raised ₹11,584 crore.

While several private equity firms, most of them based overseas, having invested for a few years, are now seeking to exit and sell their investment at attractive valuations, healthcare-focused private equity and venture capital funds have announced their specific investments. These include Eight Roads, Motilal Oswal Private Equity, Karkinos Healthcare, Goldman Sachs, BPEA, and AHH. The Adani Group too is lining up investments to the tune of USD 4 billion and may acquire large hospitals and diagnostic chains, among other assets.

Shifting gears, with a backlog at an all-time high, while the MedTech manufacturers are seeing strong traction for their products, several are not being able to meet all of the demand. They are confronted with one of the most complicated supply chain environments. Competing with makers of electric vehicles and consumer electronics, they have been grappling with shortages of semiconductor chips (and microprocessors) for the last year. And have had to lower their forecast for revenue and earnings per share for 2022.

As Covid moves from being a fresh emergency to a fact of life, the focus has to be on moving toward sustainable and inclusive growth.

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