Business Bureau

India must invest more in public healthcare to expand the health delivery system and make it more robust, according to WHO. This requires an enhanced focus on infrastructure and human resources for stepping up the healthcare systems and delivery in the rural areas.

“We know that nations need a healthy population to prosper. Stepping up investment in public healthcare is pivotal to sustaining India’s economic growth. Investing in health is investing in India’s growth story,” said Dr. Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India.

Bekedam lauded that India has made good progress in the healthcare sector. However, “60 million people are in poverty through paying healthcare bills mainly because of the country’s low investment in health, inadequate financial protection, and high out-of-pocket expenditure,” the WHO official observed.

He said it is worrying that many people still abstain from health services or delay healthcare access because of financial difficulties.

Multi-Pronged Approach Needed

In this context, the WHO while seeking to work with the government sees the need to position health care high on the agenda at national and state levels. For this WHO is mooting a multipronged approach that involves new investment, strengthening of systems to respond to outbreaks and emerging diseases, expediting effective financial protection so that no citizen is deprived of health services because of affordability issues.

Awareness On Lifestyle Diseases

Meanwhile, India’s young population has become more proactive in combating diseases borne of an unhealthy lifestyle. They are voluntarily reaching out to doctors for prevention and early diagnosis. According to the annual report of Lybrate, says 45 percent young people, in the age group 20-45 years are actively consulting doctors for preventing diseases arising out of lifestyle issues. Yet another majority is reaching out to healthcare experts for issues related to sexual or mental health.

The report points out that top seven lifestyle diseases from which young Indians want to stay away from are Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases, Cancer and Hypertension. Doctor interactions around diabetes witnessed a staggering growth of 250 percent over 2015, followed by Cardiovascular Diseases (210%), Cancer (195%), Hypertension (190%), Obesity (150%), Vitamin/Mineral Deficiency (150%) and COPD (140%).

Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, hypertension, and COPD are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are casting a huge burden on Indian families and healthcare systems.

Pharma Market To Grow

Meanwhile, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is expected to become one of the top 3 pharma markets in the world by 2020, according to an Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) report.

The industry is currently valued at US$ 26 billion and will grow to US$55 billion by 2020.

The sector had faced the brunt of strict regulatory actions from the United States Food & Drug Association (USFDA) and the recession in the global economy. Positive Outlook

The report says Indian pharma sector will grow 15 percent every year, while the global market is expected to grow at 5 percent per annum.

“Economic prosperity would improve affordability for generic drugs in the market and improve per capita sales of pharmaceuticals in India,” it says. The Government of India’s ‘Pharma Vision 2020’ is aiming to make the country a global leader. According to the report, cost efficiency and competency are the Indian pharma sector’s main winning propositions vis a vis other countries.

“India’s cost of production is nearly 60 percent lower than that of the US and almost half of that of Europe,” it says. India has the second largest number of USFDA approved manufacturing plants outside the US and has 2,633 FDA-approved drugs, the report points out. 

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