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BW Businessworld

Healthcare In India Is A Mirage: High Costs, Low Returns

The cost of resources, machinery, medical instruments in processes has been high in the hospitals while the buying capacity of the patients remains low

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The discourse about healthcare in India not available and accessible to everyone has invited debate across the country.

“Access to healthcare is as important as human lives,” says Dr Arvind Lal, Chairman and Managing Director, Dr Lal Path Labs.

The healthcare industry is growing at about 15 per cent annually but due to low prospects of returns and low paying capacity of customers, investors remain apprehensive.

The cost of resources, machinery, medical instruments in processes has been high in the hospitals while the buying capacity of the patients remains low. Even though the cost is subsidized, yet they are out of reach for a major segment of the population.

“Healthcare is a challenge. It is essential to put the patient first, the current ecosystem is more directed towards urban population that leaves the majority out of the services,” said Dr Lal.

Anjan Bose, Secretary General, Nathealth said, “There is a lack of resources and technology in India. Imports are very high in India. India, for many, signifies low cost, cheap quality.”

He added that even the foreign manufacturing companies are facing challenges in India as they are not able to yield high returns on their goods.

Sharing the user’s perspective, Dr KR Vasudheva, Senior Consultant and Head, Liver Transplant & Surgical Gastroenterology, PSRI said, “On an average, a liver transplant costs Rs 20 lakh and this cost is 1/6th of the cost at United Kingdom. Yet, from 1-2 lakh people who require the transplant in India, only 1000-2000 manage to get it.”

He shared that while healthcare needs to be more accessible and available for the Indian population, quality has to be a major aspect of it.

“There are local manufacturers and multi-national made goods and instead of them competing against each other, they need to collaborate together, there is space for both of them to exist,” Nitin Mahajan, Managing Director, EVG, Mitra Industries said at fourth edition of BW Businessworld Healthcare Summit and Awards.

Highlighting the emerging megatrends in healthcare industry he shared that more than hospitals, homecare is gaining momentum going side by side with digital means. Secondly, from the approach of present disease cure it is transforming to preventive disease caution.

There exists high cost of land, machinery, equipment etc. to create a fundamental healthcare ecosystem. A hospital with about 200 beds breaks even in 8 years while a hotel would take about 5 years. The low return of investment and government regulations have consequently, taken away incentives to invest in healthcare.


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