Plastics remain at the forefront of medical innovations. The Indian market is expanding in all directions as a result of better affordability, greater health consciousness and expanding medical service institutions. With a population of 1.15 billion, India will need to at least 2 million beds in the next 10 years in order to attain a modest target of 2 per 1000 of population. With a total healthcare value of USD 400 billion, the potential for medicare equipment is, indeed large.
According to McKinsey & Co. a leading industrial and management consulting organization, the Indian healthcare sector, including pharmaceutical, diagnostics and hospital services, is expected to more than double its revenues to Rs 2000 billion by 2010. Expenditure on healthcare services, including diagnostics, hospital occupancy and outpatient consulting, the largest component of this spend is expected to grow more than 125% to Rs 1560 billion by 2012 from Rs 690 billion now.
The Health Ministry of the Government of India was planning to have a separate wing to license medical devices under the proposed National Drug Authority. The Indian domestic medicare devices industry is expected to grow from Rs 60 billion to Rs 76.5 billion in four years. The overall market is estimated at Rs 150 billion. A major part of the demand is met through imports. Devices, such as catheters and stents represent nearly two-fifth of the entire range of diagnostic devices and most critical as per international classification.
Apart from the electronic instruments and major equipment, substantial progress has been registered in the area of a number of medical accessories and consumables. These include disposables - syringes, blood bags, cannulae, IV fluid sets, gloves. In most of these items, while the demand is increasing fast, India is becoming increasingly self-sufficient. Fairly large quantities are also exported.
The market for non-premium equipments, appliances and disposables is, however, dominated by the domestic manufacturers, while foreign suppliers and Indian companies with foreign alliances dominate the high-end hi-tech medical equipment and appliances. Among the leading providers of advanced products are Siemens, GE, Philips Medical Systems, Toshiba, Hitachi and Boston Scientific.
Major players like Siemens, GE, Larsen & Tourbo, Philips Medical Systems, to name only a few, are today making a substantial contribution in the area. Besides the big names, a large number of producers in India belong to the SME (small and medium enterprise) sector. The contribution of the latter is estimated at about two-fifths of the total demand.
There is a large untapped potential in this sector. The fragmentation of production facilities forestalls any worthwhile effort at R&D. This leads to industry's dependence on imported technology. Nonetheless, it is crystal clear that with the fast commercialization process of the sector and upgradation of medical facilities, the potential is sky high.