The Indian population of one billion people is growing at a rate of 1.6 percent per year with the healthcare market expected to reach over $75 billion in 2012. There is rapid growth with middle-income consumers which is creating a demand for a higher standard of healthcare. Many in this consumer segment are looking for international quality medical services to be provided in private super specialty hospitals.
Both the government and private sector are planning new hospitals as well as upgrading existing hospitals. It is projected that India will need at least 80,000 hospital beds per year for the next five years to meet the expanding local demand which means that Indian hospital facilities will need to import high-end medical equipment.
The demand for medical equipment is expected to reach over $5 billion in 2012. In India, imports account for over 65 percent of the entire medical equipment market with approximately 85 percent of the equipment coming from the U.S.
The “Medical Fair India 2012” held in March 2012, had 322 exhibitors and 6,721 attendees focusing on medical technology, rehabilitation accessories, and health sector services. Exhibitors taking part came from France, Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia, China, UK, Russia, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Austria, Singapore, and Italy.
India is going in other directions. In an address recently delivered by the Ambassador of India Nirupama Rao at Emory University on India-US Strategic Relations, she reports that India is establishing the country as a hub for clinical research which may significantly reduce the lab-to-market time for U.S, companies.
She also reports that U.S. firms such as Pfizer and Abbott are working with Indian drug companies to expand their footprint, while Indian companies are looking to move up the value chain by investing and performing R&D.
In May, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Science and Technology Minister Sh. Vilasrao Deshmukh to develop further cooperation in the field of Science and Technology (S&T). The Stanford-India Biodesign Program supported by the Department of Biotechnology and the Indo-U.S. S&T Forum in cooperation with Stanford University, AIIMs, and IIT-Delhi has been very successful. So far 25 individuals have been trained to identify major healthcare needs and are working to find cost effective solutions.
Lockheed Martin has established the “India Innovation Growth Program”. The program is jointly funded by India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, the University of Texas TC3 Institute, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
The program’s goal is to launch India’s early stage technologies into the global marketplace. The program is open to all Indian researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and companies with early stage technologies showing commercial potential. The technologies are in biotechnology, communications, computing, electronics, information technology, manufacturing, medical, life sciences, nanotechnology, plus a number of other fields.
India is also involved in some joint efforts with other countries. For example, India and Taiwan are interested in receiving joint science and technology research proposals in areas involving micro/nanoelectronics and embedded systems, drug discovery, and biomedical devices with other areas also being supported. The program is open to scientists and engineers in India and Taiwan engaged in advanced research. The proposals must be received by August 30, 2012. For information, email Shri R K Sharma at Sharma_rk@nic.in.
In another Call for Proposals, the Indian Department of Biotechnology and the Danish Council for Strategic Research are requesting research studies directed towards the human aspects of health science biotechnology. Areas for study include research on stem cells and cell therapy, lifestyle diseases, biotechnology perspectives of traditional medicine, cancer, vaccines, and diagnostics. Proposals are due September 14, 2012. For information, email Daniel Skjold Pedersen at email@example.com.