Ajay Jindal
CFO,
BPL Medical Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Committed Toward A Healthier Tomorrow

On addressable market size for medical equipment and devices in India

The healthcare industry in India has been one of the country’s largest economic sectors, with regards to providing technology, human resources, and revenue. The medical devices industry in India is growing steadily. It is valued at USD 3.5 billion in 2015 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8 percent. As per industry estimates, the Indian medical devices market will grow to USD 50 billion by 2025. Furthermore, an increased disease burden, an ageing population, and increased disposable income and improved health care awareness would only drive this industry forward creating a suitable and promising environment for the growth of the medical device market in India. The government has also started taking promising steps toward the strengthening of the manufacturing sector which is good news for all the companies that Make in India.

On key growth drivers

Currently, India is counted among the top 20 global medical devices market and is the fourth largest medical devices market in Asia after Japan, China, and South Korea. With the liberalizing of government policies, the increased encouragement toward foreign direct investment (FDI) in medical devices, the Make in India campaign, creation of designated manufacturing zones for medical devices, PPPs, Free Diagnostics Service Initiative, and Ayushman Bharat Yojana would be the key drivers that are set to give impetus to the medical sector thereby providing affordable and accessible healthcare to all.

During the period between April 2000 and March 2017, USD 1.57 billion worth FDI came into the country taking advantage of the lucrative opportunity presented by the government; this resulted in an increasing number of MNCs setting up their manufacturing bases in India. There are medical device parks planned across India, including Andhra Pradesh (Telangana), Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. India’s population is set to touch 1.45 billion by 2028, making it the world’s most populous nation. With socio-economic changes such as rapid urbanization, demographic and lifestyle changes, the society is more prone to lifestyle-related ailments such as diabetes, obesity, stroke, and cancer. Of the total population, the share of the aging population in 2011 was 5.3 percent which is expected to increase to 6 percent of the total population by 2021. With an aging population, there will be a greater demand for more hospitals, diagnostic centers, and specialized facilities which would mean a greater need for medical devices.

On the flip side, there are a lot of challenges that the medical device manufacturers are facing, which needs to be addressed at the earliest, for example, a skewed GST on some of the diagnostics products. If the government is looking at creating healthcare more affordable and accessible to all, the GST on medical equipment’s should be kept at a minimum, which would benefit the end patients at large. Such correction will only give further fillip to manufacturing in India.

Quality is a major issue in this sector and lack of regulatory systems with global standards and lack of quality product testing are hampering this sector. At present, most medical devices can be imported by anyone from anywhere without any regulatory checks. There are rampant imports of low cost, poor quality equipment. All these facts pose a challenge for domestic manufacturers.

Government should help to create a hygiene for the Make in India concept, like more tax sops for technology transfer R&D investment to steadily build a base of Make in India for medical devices in India.

On your company’s marketing strategy

In today’s market, it is very important to have a good, detailed, and dynamic marketing strategy to be able to succeed. Every marketing plan is different depending on the product, the company, and the situation on the market. With the brand legacy of BPL and with steady investments from investors, one of the most important objectives for us would be to make hospitals, diagnostic centers, doctors, healthcare providers, and customers aware of the varied range of quality products that we offer. The focus now being digital media, where we want to engage with healthcare professionals more, understand their requirement, showcase our products, and create that bridge between healthcare providers and BPL Medical Technologies. We are looking to penetrate markets which can bring value to BPL and to the customers. We have recently launched our home care products, where we would be aggressively foray into the e-commerce space. Advertising the benefits of the medical devices or and the technology through print, visual, and social media apart from only B2B would also be a great way to reach out to various segments of customers.

We have also been developing our BPL Be well app with an objective to provide a holistic healthcare solution to our customers, looking beyond device manufacturing, our app which can connected via Bluetooth with various devices like our pulse oximeter, BP monitor, ECG machines, blood glucose monitor, weighing machine etc. which can go a long way to help patients monitor their own health trends and can be great step in preventive healthcare.

On expansion plans for the next couple of years

BPL Medical Technologies on the product side has seen substantial growth in X-ray, ultrasound, home health, and consumable segments. Investment, time, and market acceptance have made lot of inroads for robust growth in these sectors in the coming 2-3 years of time. We are also venturing into the exports business and creating a base for the same and are hopeful of making a big impact in the export market in coming times.

For the Indian market, we are focusing more on the retail and government segment; beyond that we would also be looking at the corporate side, standalone hospitals, individual diagnostic centers, and poly clinics. With a 5x growth within a span of 5 years, apart from focusing on only revenue growth, BPL would continue to increase and improve its ground field force with regular focused trainings and engagements with employees, distributors, and all other internal stake holders.

We have been investing outside India and Penlon Inc is our facility at Oxford Shire UK. This facility produces one of the best anesthesia work stations and vaporizers and has recently celebrated its 75 years of existence. It has distribution network in more than 90 countries which would be key for us serve beyond. There are new products being launched and some in the pipeline which will boost the growth of Penlon and BPL.

High infant mortality rate in India is a major concern. With that in mind, we recently launched our infant care incubators, warmers, photo therapy units and ventilators in association with a Japanese company called Atom with a focus on premium infant care.

BPL is expanding in an organic and calculative way with an eye on profitability and cash accretion. It aspires to be an Indian multinational manufacturing company with its footprints across India and the globe.

On BPL’s edge over competitors

The brand BPL is synonymous with providing quality products to its customers since 1967, and that is the ethos we still work with, providing high standard products and services that are affordable and value for money for patients. We stand by our ethical business practices and customer centricity. BPL is an ISO13485-2016 certified company, following the quality, safety, and production standards prescribed for individual medical device companies.

We have been able to penetrate and reach the semi-urban, tier II, and tier III cities of India which comprise more than 60 percent of the population and provide a huge market for the medical device business, which not many of our competitors have been able to do. We can boast of a distribution channel like no one else, with a distribution network of more than 90 dealers across India, and some of them working with BPL since its inception.

We firmly believe in customer service and satisfaction and are proud of our after-sales-service under Smart up Keep; an authorized service network in India with a dedicated call centre working 6 days a week, connects with customers and ensuring that customers are attended to promptly. With more than 200 dedicated and skilled service staff across the country, like service engineers, sales representatives, channel partners etc. who help us remain close to customers, anywhere and everywhere.

BPL Medical Technologies is an Indian company which firmly believes in Make in India and the platform it offer to drive technology innovation in an affordable and accessible way to all our customers. To achieve this, we have been continuously building our infrastructure, in a way so that we can fulfill our BPL promise, and, in the process, we have achieved revenue of 5x in just 5 years’ time which not many companies can boast of. This makes us believe in the trust that people associate with the brand BPL and adds even more responsibility on us to continuously evolve and strive for growth without compromising on quality standards and ethos. To conclude, the Indian medical device market with all its potential can be fully maximized only when the government and the device manufacturers come together and implement the ideas based on the opportunities present, which could open the market to be a multi-billion-dollar opportunity, much greater than the 3+ million it is now.

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