The Indian healthcare sector has undergone a paradigm shift from a status of basic service to an industry over the last couple of decades. The healthcare industry is witnessing a tremendous growth and is projected to touch $280 billion worth by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 17%.
Medical consumables represent a major segment of the healthcare industry and present a steady growth. According to 2015 reports the market segment for medical consumables in India have been valued at of $3.5 billion and a projected growth up to 4.8 billion by 2019.
The innovation ecosystem of Indian medical technology is evolving and turned vibrant since few years. Academic research, venture funding, policy support and entrepreneurship promotion schemes from the Government have created a conducive environment for the development and promotion of innovative products and services.
The private sector has emerged as a dominant player in the healthcare sector in India accounting for 72% of the healthcare expenditure countrywide. Setting up of super specialty hospitals, the introduction of telemedicine service, the establishment of state-of-the-art hospitals and diagnostic facilities in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, mostly by the private players are some of the visible progressive trends observed during the recent years in Indian healthcare scenario.
The inception of production facilities by MNCs and entrepreneurial initiatives by domestic technocrats for the development and production of medical devices and consumables have brought down the cost of many consumable items for healthcare, facilitating the affordability of the massive consumer segment, the Indian middle class.
What are Medical consumables?
Medical consumables comprise heterogeneous objects and materials. Needles, syringes, sutures, staples, tubing, packaging, catheters, gowns, surgical gloves, masks, adhesives and sealants for wound dressing and a variety of other devices and tools used in a hospital or surgical environment and sanitary and hygiene products used for patient care all make the list of medical consumables.
When compared to earlier days, the categories and types of consumables in use at home and hospital healthcare are much higher. Many of the conventional consumables have transformed to upgraded versions with value addition in terms of quality, durability, user-friendly status, safety or other attributes.
Disposable syringes, absorbable sutures, disposable gloves, many surgical items, etc. are some of the examples of such consumable items.
Changing Mind-Set of the Indian Society Towards Healthcare
Limited public awareness on diseases, disorders and healthcare options, affordability and accessibility of health care services were the limiting factors in seeking better options for healthcare by the Indian population until the 1980s. The scenario witnessed a rapid transformation and evolved to a more demanding mentality among the people.
The increased literacy rate, higher levels of income and enhancement of awareness of the public through penetration of mass media into every corner, and availability of affordable consumables have brought a paradigm shift in the mind-set of the patient in seeking healthcare services. Still, other factors influencing the choice of better options for health care by the people include the policy level incentives and encouragement from the Government to upgrade and expand healthcare innovation and service industries.
The competition among the health care providers, addition of innovative products, and provision for subsidized/ free healthcare options extended by the Government during the recent years further complement to the demand for better healthcare services by the common man in India.
The disintegration of joint family culture and transformation to nuclear family is another critical factor boosting the medical consumables, as caring for the elderly population is either outsourced or made more sophisticated with modern devices or materials for self-care. Regular health check-ups for the adults, preventive medicines for the children and use of fitness products also add to the healthcare budget of every family.
Currently, the expectation of the Indian society towards healthcare service standards has shifted from basic to more fine-tuned and patient-friendly options. This boosts the impact of service standards of hospitals and other healthcare establishments and creates more demands for medical consumables. The rising population and the demographic shift towards the elderly population play a key role in enhancing the demand for healthcare services and consumables.
Rising incidents of diseases, increase of causalities, growing numbers of chronic patients like diabetics, cancer patients, etc. result in increased impact on the demand for medical consumables. The changing lifestyle of the people also influences the demand for healthcare and medical consumables by increasing trends of lifestyle-related diseases.
Healthcare insurance plays a critical role in addressing the healthcare affordability factor across the society. The recent introduction of health cards for senior citizens, disabled and weaker sections of the society have created considerable opportunities for the medical consumables. The telemedicine, quality enhancement of healthcare infrastructure and increasing number of new drugs and nutraceuticals further enhance the demand for medical consumables.
The Indian medical device industry is on an upward trend and is strongly backed by the robust legal framework available here. The recognition of medical device industry as a focus industry under “Make in India” initiative, of the Govt. of India and the introduction of the Medical device Rules 2017 have boosted the industrial environment for this sector.
The National Health Policy, approved by the Indian Govt. during this year assures healthcare as an essential service and makes provision for inclusive healthcare of all the sectors of the society. This initiative would definitely increase the demand for healthcare services and consumables to a great extent.
The support from the Govt., availability and accessibility to high-end healthcare services and consumables, increased standards of living, medical insurance facility, shifting family structure, the need for caring for the growing elderly population, rising number of diseases and population growth together play a synergistic role in enhancing the demand for medical consumables in India. Ultimately, the changing mind-set of Indian middle class acts as a driving force for flourishing the health care service and allied industries.