Rekha Dubey
Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital

Emerging Trends And The Growth Of The Healthcare Sector In India

Healthcare is one of India’s largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment, and the sector is expanding rapidly. This has led to significant demand for medical devices. According to an industry report, the medical device market in India is expected to grow by 6 percent by 2020. This looks like a promising opportunity for any device manufacturer, more so because this sector is import-dependent. India relies on imports to supply its healthcare system with medical technology thus opening doors for foreign manufacturers. In India, there is consistent demand for surgical instruments, cancer diagnostics, orthopedic and prosthetic equipment, imaging, orthodontic and dental implants, and electro medical equipment.

However, the weak rupee and low-cost Chinese imports make it difficult for manufacturers to gain ground in this market. Added to that, the underdeveloped regulatory framework and price-capping will further challenge the market players. Indian regulations on medical devices are a major challenge and this has been a problem to many foreign investors in the industry. Low attention from policy makers and a large tax regime are also the reasons for the sector’s underdevelopment. Also, lack of customization and innovation brings fewer options to patients.

Despite this, India’s medical devices sector is expected to experience unprecedented growth during the next decade. By 2025, the industry is projected to be worth USD 50 billion. This can be attributed to the country’s growing middle class, an increase in the number of hospitals, and consequently, a greater need for sophisticated medical devices and better healthcare.

IVD market

The IVD market in India is growing at a phenomenal pace and the country has the potential to emerge as a global manufacturing hub in the medical devices space. India is the fourth largest market for IVD devices in Asia after China, Japan, and South Korea. Demand for personalized medicines, innovations in diagnostic techniques, increasing preference for PoC testing among the general population, a growing geriatric population base, and increase in disposable incomes are driving the growth of the IVD sector in India. Increasing proliferation of lifestyle ailments like heart disease and rising awareness of minimally invasive and non-invasive diagnostic techniques have emerged as positive triggers for positioning India as a rapidly rising market for IVD devices.

The demand for clinical chemistry products is anticipated to be vastly bolstered by advances in self-monitoring methods for diabetes and patient screening techniques along with the increasing use of PoC systems which offer greater diagnostic accuracy. The Indian government has taken positive steps to boost the capacities of the domestic IVD sector. The formulation of the Medical Devices Rule has helped direct investment inflows and reduced the production cost of devices, whose benefits, in turn, can be passed on to the end user. However, priority should be placed on creating an industry-friendly regulatory structure which would be aligned with global regulatory regimes which would enforce market-compliant business practices for the domestic IVD industry. The right mix of pro-industry policy initiatives and investment strategies can position India as a global IVD manufacturing power and leverage its latent competencies to scale the next level of the growth trajectory.

Life sciences market

With the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, the life sciences sector continues to embark on a transformative technology journey. Companies, today, are preparing for the future by embracing these technologies and building a patient-centric culture. Strategic alliances and new operating models are also contributing to overall growth in the sector. With growth, come some uncertainties, arising from pricing pressures, value-based contracting, geopolitical climate, and policy changes. But, companies are taking measures to withstand these challenges.

Overall, the healthcare industry in India is now undergoing some huge positive changes across all major segments of the industry, including hospitals, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, medical equipment, medical insurance, and telemedicine. The government is also aiming to develop India as a global healthcare hub by issuing new policies to reduce industry tax, creating new drug testing laboratories, and improving the National Health Insurance Mission to provide health benefits to more people. The growth of the healthcare industry in India is expected to continue at an amazing rate.

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