Mumbai: The year 2022 has been an eventful year for the Indian health sector. The industry saw growth in terms of revenue and investment. The year also saw India building on the initiative towards becoming self-sufficient and providing to the world.
2022 also saw the demand for quality healthcare services grow due to the rising global burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. India’s growing population, increasing health awareness, health insurance penetration and preventive health becoming more important than ever the healthcare industry is poised to grow in the coming year.
According to GlobalData, The Indian medical devices market accounted for 42 per cent of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 8 per cent through 2030. The Indian diagnostics imaging market will likely grow at a CAGR of over 12 per cent through 2030. Manufacturing of high-end diagnostic devices is expected to drive the medical devices market in India.
Setting stones for 2023
Shortages of medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed the Indian government to promote domestic manufacturing. The recovery of the healthcare sector in 2022 was underlined by the industry’s commitment to innovation and tech advancements, steered by putting patients at the centre of care.
The pandemic years have amplified the weaknesses of health systems, and the ability of national health systems to ramp up is greatly limited by the economic downturn in many parts of the world. Given this context, private and non-profit sector engagement will be unavoidable for health system strengthening. In addition, to leapfrog shortages and limitations, telegraphy and advanced technology will be significantly deployed and more systematically in the coming times, stated, Oommen C Kurian, Head Health Initiative, Observer Research Foundation
Sharing his views Rohit Anand, Medical Devices Analyst, GlobalData, commented, “India wants to become as self-sufficient as possible. In 2022, domestic production was the key focus area in the field of medical devices, and this will continue in 2023. India’s manufacturing capabilities have seen significant development in the last few years. The new National Medical Devices Policy introduced in 2022 has started creating an impact and under this scheme, the state government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has initiated steps to invite medical device manufacturers. The indigenous manufacturing of high-end medical devices is expected to provide impetus to India’s aim of becoming a manufacturing hub. The key objective will be to bring down the cost of medical devices and to reduce import dependency.”
In 2022, the medical device industry witnessed entries of novel technologies with promising applications in healthcare such as artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing technology, and wearable medical devices.
Anand further added, “AI is a game-changing technology that has the potential to detect diseases such as cancers in the early stages. We may see an increased use of AI in minimally invasive and non-invasive surgery devices. Furthermore, medical devices supported by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will replace high-risk operations by making it simple to visualise wounds in 3D. Extensive use of 3D printing technology for the production of artificial implants and joints is expected in the next few years. Medical device companies may increase investment in robotically assisted surgical devices, which will improve precision in high-risk surgeries. Both domestic and foreign medical device companies will invest in newer technologies for early diagnosis and better treatment outcomes. This will help them gain market share, boost the economy and likely enable a paradigm shift in medical treatment.
The Indian healthcare industry is poised to become the global medical tourism hub. The credit goes to the large-scale vaccination programme and efforts undertaken by the industry in developing innovative ways for continued quality, safe healthcare delivery. The pandemic accelerated the urgency to integrate technologies and the need to build an ecosystem that personally addresses individuals’ needs.
“The key to success for 2023 will depend on our capabilities to strengthen healthcare infrastructure, development of standalone cancer, cardiac and orthopaedic centres and greater collaboration with the government and academia to address the shortage of skilled workforce. The healthcare sector in India is a sunrise sector and will continue to remain the preferred market for the investor community,” shared, Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD and CEO, Fortis Healthcare and Senior Vice President, NATHEALTH.
Driving factors for 2023
The adoption rate of new technology-based products will continue to grow in 2023. Medical device companies will continue to invest in Healthcare IT (HCIT) tools such as ‘The Internet of Medical Things’ and ‘Augmented Reality’ for remote patient monitoring, long-term condition monitoring, and medication tracking devices.
Sharing his views Kurian remarked, “Some of the key technology trends that are expected to have a significant impact on the industry include the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the rise of telemedicine and remote monitoring, and the increasing use of electronic health records and other health information technologies. These can be particularly useful for people living in remote or underserved areas, or for those who have difficulty accessing care due to physical or logistical barriers.”
“We may see investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence-aided medical devices in 2023 to improve diagnoses before a disease can cause irreversible damage. On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to telemedicine/online consultations which will continue to see investments through existing and new players,” said Anand.
As India, inches closer to becoming the global manufacturing hub, and a key exporter of medical devices worldwide, today, the industry has the much-needed impetus across the value chain.
India assuming the G20 Presidency
The G20 nations represent 65 per cent of the world’s population, encompassing 85 per cent of the global GDP. The Indian G20 presidency is expected to use a holistic approach to address challenges in the healthcare/medical sector and help to plan better global public health policies. The G20 members account for 75 per cent of trade in the world. The new presidency is anticipated to encourage multilateral trade policies among the G20 nations, which are likely to facilitate collaborations between industries among the partner nations.
In view of India’s G20 Presidency, digital health innovation, achieving universal health coverage, and improving healthcare infrastructure and delivery will continue to be the key driving factors in 2023.
“This vision rests on the premise of precision and preventive care, especially as we look at innovation to lead the sector’s growth. From digital acceleration to fighting the NCD burden, precision is key. Moreover, the sector growth map of 2023 rests on our abilities to achieve the digital transformation in healthcare, accelerate investments in new technologies and R&D, address the NCDs burden, create favourable policies that can help reduce import dependence, and stronger partnerships between the Govt, industry and academia,” observed, Dr Shravan Subramanyam, President, NATHEALTH and Managing Director, Wipro GE Healthcare.
“Starting with Indonesia in 2022 and followed by India in 2023, developing nations would be holding the G20 presidency continuously for four years, till South Africa in 2025. As the world hopes to end at least two of the three ongoing PHEICs in 2023 and prepare for future pandemics in the middle of an economic crisis across many regions, a new global consensus towards balancing the interests of innovators and technology holders as well as ensuring quality and affordable access of medical care to people is a policy imperative. Hopefully, India, Brazil and South Africa will leverage their global leadership role to move beyond the status quo towards innovative and ambitious solutions,” voiced Kurian.
“Such partnerships would facilitate the exchange of intellectual properties among the G20-nations and support domestic manufacturing of medical devices. India remains the promising destination among the G20-nations for manufacturing low-cost medical equipment. Proactive policies of the Government of India, like the ‘Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Promoting Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices’ has facilitated domestic manufacturing of low-cost medical equipment. With the availability of affordable medical devices, India will provide better healthcare to people with all socio-economic backgrounds,” echoed Anand.
“The domestic medical manufacturing industry should collaborate with international players for technology support, backing low-cost manufacturing in India. Moreover, the medical device industry should team up with academics to facilitate the development of indigenous healthcare technologies. The Indian industry players should participate in active academic-industry collaborations, taking the example of countries like Japan where such partnerships are promoting the development of novel diagnostics for neurological disorders. As a lead manufacturer of affordable medical devices, India would ensure better healthcare for its people and other low-income countries that will benefit from the export of low-cost devices safeguarding equitable access to healthcare products,” concluded Anand.
Kurian is of the view that given the disruption of the pandemic and the weaknesses demonstrated by the traditional solutions, the new year could potentially be also one of a new industry leadership focusing on greater cooperation, access, equity and inclusion, rather than profit margins alone.
The medical devices sector should develop affordable, personalised, and accessible medical/diagnostic solutions. India has the potential to become the destination for manufacturing affordable medical devices due to the availability of a skilled workforce along with conducive government policies.