Future of the Healthcare Industry in India: Growing Rapidly in 2018

The healthcare industry in India is already one of the country’s largest sectors in terms of both employment and revenue generation, and it is expected to grow at a rapid pace in 2018. Apart from drivers such as strong economic performance, rising population, and the increased prevalence of chronic diseases, significant growth within India’s healthcare industry over the recent years is also believed to be facilitated by a rapid privatization of healthcare services, particularly in secondary and tertiary healthcare services in rural and urban areas. Meanwhile, India’s competitiveness in the global healthcare market also indicates in its huge availability of well-trained medical professionals and cost competitive in pharmaceutics, medical devices, and medical tourism sectors.


Indian Healthcare Industry Analysis


According to recent data from India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) the size of the healthcare industry in India is worth around $160 billion in 2017 and that figure is expected to reach over $280 billion by 2020. Rising income levels, the aging population, growing health awareness, and a changing attitude towards preventive healthcare is expected to boost healthcare services demand in future.


As one of the largest segments in India’s booming healthcare, the pharmaceutical market in India is also set to expand at a CAGR of 15.92% from $ 36.7 billion in 2016 to $ 55 billion by 2020. India is also one of the world’s top pharmaceutical exporters with a year-on-year growth of 11.4% to $ 12.91 billion in FY 2015-16. Indian pharmaceutical exports to the United States are expected to increase in 2017-18 as roughly $50 billion worth of pharmaceutical drugs become unpatented, allowing manufacturers to produce and sell generic versions for a lower price.


As healthcare becomes one of India largest sectors, the low cost of medical and healthcare services in India has also led to a rise in the country’s medical tourism — attracting patients from all over the world. The cost of surgery in India is about one-tenth of that in the US or Western Europe. As a result, India is experiencing 22-25% growth in medical tourism and the industry is expected to double its size from $3 billion in 2017 to $6 billion by 2018. Medical tourist arrivals in India was estimated to be over 200,000 in 2016, and the figure is likely to be doubled this year.


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Hospital Industry Profile in India


In India, the majority of hospitals and healthcare professionals are concentrated around urban areas where consumers have higher spending power. In 2016, the total number of hospitals in India reached 196,312. In addition, there were also 156,926 of Subcentres.  Another total of 3,598 hospitals and 25,723 dispensaries across the country offers AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) treatment, thus ensuring availability of alternative medicine and treatment to the people. Currently, the country’s doctor-to-patient ratio, as reported by the Medical Council of India, stands at 1: 1,674, well below the WHO’s recommended 1: 1,000.


Investment in the Healthcare Industry in India


Due to its strong market potential, investment in India’s healthcare infrastructure is set to rise, benefiting hospitals, healthcare R&D, and healthcare education in the country. According to data released by the Indian Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the healthcare industry in India attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth US$ 4.34 billion between April 2000 and March 2017.


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Major players in the healthcare industry in India continue to pave the way for the industry, large investments by private sector players are likely to contribute significantly to the development of India’s hospital industry, which comprises around 80% of the total market. In India, private healthcare accounts for almost 74% of the country’s total healthcare expenditure.


Indian Healthcare Industry Opportunities and Trends


As the healthcare infrastructure and expenditure in India continues to rise, the healthcare industry is expected to be more diversified and full of opportunities. India is also becoming one of the world’s leading destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities. IBEF also points out that India’s competitive advantage lies in getting Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) approvals, and offering vast opportunities in R&D as well as medical tourism.


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Overall, the healthcare industry in India is now undergoing some huge positive changes across all major segments of the industry, including hospitals, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, medical equipment, medical insurance, and telemedicine. The government is also aiming to develop India as a global healthcare hub by issuing new policy reduce industry tax, creating new drug testing laboratories and improving National Health Insurance Mission to provide health benefits to more people. The growth of healthcare industry in India is expected continue performing at an amazing rate.



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