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Taking stock!

The Financial analysts and brokerage firms in Indian are confient tha the worst is behind us and the healthcare sector outlook is stable. Though financial data for 2020 is not yet available, it is apparent that this year, revenues have taken a major hit. Among companies focused on elective procedures, the impact has been higher, as patients have stayed away from hospitals. By contrast, companies focused on diagnostics saw toplines rise significantly. And within dignostics , the non-imaging segmen-primarily referring to patient monitoring and in-vitro testing equipment, with COVID-19 related diagnostics needed in bulk on the clinical front line, gained traction. Also vital have been commodity equipment from PPE and ventilators to other hospital basics, at scale and speed. The disruption in supply chains accelerated the adoption of digital , data-driven snmartdevices, both by consumers, now more willing to share their data and the industry, more ready to make investment into bulding the digital capabilities needed to access and use the ever-expanding wealth of real-world data. To put things in perspective, on a conservative basis , the overall India digital health opportunity has been estimated at USD 50 billion as it currently stands with the different constraints in our physical and technology healthcare delivery system.

Acquisitions are on the cards, as small and mid-size companies are finding it difficult to survive, and may very likely be gobbled up by the large MedTech players, that in turn have recapitalized through debt and follow-on offerings and now have substantial M&A firepower.

Shiftings gears, while the virus seems to be in no mood to let go,the rising pollution levels-an increase of one microgram per cubic metre in PM 2.5 is associated with an 8 percent increase in the COVID-19 death rate; approaching winters;social distancing be damned as pandemic fatigue sets in and we are in the throes of the festive season, are not helping the cause.

India is gearing up storage, distribution and funding for the vaccine once it is available. While we all wish for a vaccine that’s 98 percent effective, everybody takes it and the pandemic essentially comes to a halt, that is not going to happen. If we are super lucky, 60 percent of Indians will take it. And it will make a real difference but it will not bring the pandemic to an end. On that note, maybe it is time to invoke our gods(India has 330 million maintains Sadhguru!) and wishes our readers a Happy Diwali!

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