India's healthcare system might struggle to keep pace by 2030, says report

Indian healthcare system will "struggle to keep pace" in 2030 when 140 million Indian households are expected to enter the middle-class, said a report by Bain & Company report on Tuesday. 

The healthcare industry will face challenges due to a rapid increase in patient volume accompanied by pricing and margin pressures, said the India Life Sciences Report 2019, which was conducted among 325 doctors.

The report, done in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said the demand from "developed rural" areas along with the increase in middle-class households will drive about two-times hike in healthcare consumption. PM Narendra Modi's flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat, which was launched in September 2018 to provide 500,000 poor people annual health cover of Rs 500,000, is also likely to increase healthcare demand. 

It said doctors will find it difficult to keep pace with disease and treatment protocol due to lack of high-quality care. Most doctors said the situation will be adverse as greater proportion of patients have chronic diseases compared with five years ago. 

The use of disease management tools could result in $8.5 billion in additional drug sales by 2024, the report said, showcasing the unique opportunity that the boom in digital health presents for the life sciences industry. 

Doctors are looking for multiple types of support to manage this complexity—with 85 per cent of then upgrading their own clinical skills. 

According to the report, complex generics and biosimilars will be the key growth drivers, a shift away from the dominating commoditised generics. Generics prices have already seen 4 to 6 per cent deflation since 2017 and a growing buyer consolidation will continue to put further pressure on prices and margins.

While Ayushman Bharat has the potential to drive dramatic healthcare access, efforts must be made to have a quality lens on it as well, the report said, adding the industry must work with the government to deliver comprehensive and high-quality care through co-development of protocols and standard treatment.

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