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What do foreign investors need to know about the India’s Healthcare Industry?
Healthcare in India is one of largest sectors both in terms of employment and revenue. The industry comprises of hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment.
India is the world’s largest producer of generic medicines and contributes over 20% by value to global generics market. The country is often dubbed as the pharmacy of the world.
Government has come out with various schemes and initiatives to boost manufacturing of APIs and medical devices. An impetus of US$ 1.3 billion has been given to augment active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) production in the country.
Shifting focus towards improved healthcare facilities as a result of pandemic has created a new wave of opportunities for healthcare industry in India. The industry in India is projected to reach US$ 372 billion by 2022.
What are the key drivers for growth in India’s Healthcare Industry?
- Greater prevalence of healthcare insurance among the masses - In the fiscal year of 2019, over 472 million people across India were covered under health insurance schemes.
- Higher levels of healthcare financing and support by the government via various initiatives and schemes like Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission, the world’s largest government funded healthcare scheme.
- Rising disposable income - over the six-year period ending March 2019, disposable income in India jumped by 2.3 times.
- Better awareness about the lifestyle diseases which accounted for half of deaths in 2015 in India
What are the various government schemes to promote manufacturing of medical devices in India?
To provide an impetus to India’s vision of becoming a global manufacturing hub for medical devices, the government has announced Production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme and Promotion of Medical Devices Parks scheme.
- Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) aims to provide financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investment in medical devices segments. An incentive of 5 per cent of incremental sales over base year will be provided on the segments of medical devices identified under the scheme.
- Promotion of Medical Devices Parks Scheme aims to promote medical device parks in the country in partnership with the states. A maximum grant-in-aid of INR 100 crore (US$ 13.6 million) per park will be provided to the states.
Telemedicine has come to the forefront during the pandemic. Can you highlight the regulatory framework for Telemedicine in India?
The Indian government issued the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines in March 2020 to enable registered medical practitioners to provide healthcare services using telecommunication and digital technologies.
There are various modes of patient consultation recognized by the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines which includes video, audio, and text, which includes telephones, video devices, chat, email, fax, or special apps developed for remote consultation
- The Guidelines outline the process for prescribing medicines, first consult and follow-up consult, identity and consent, action to be taken during emergency situations, among other concerns.
- The Guidelines, however, do not allow the use of digital technologies to conduct surgical or invasive procedures remotely.
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