If increasing interest of domestic pharmaceutical companies in the business of medical diagnostic equipment is an indicator, then it may very well emerge as the next growth story in the industry.
As usage of technology to assuage pain and illness increases, the need for diagnostic equipments is felt. Pharma companies are best placed to enter this segment, which serves as a good diversification for them. They can leverage their relationship with doctors and medical personnel to sell diagnostic products to be used in hospitals or by patients. The size of this industry is estimated to be $2.3 billion in India.
To take advantage of opportunities in infection control segment, the Rs 5.5 billion Elder Pharma has announced a strategic alliance with Germany-based Chemische Fabrik Dr Weigert. The latter is a European leader in equipment, services and technologies for infection control in operating theatres, diagnostics, and patient handling.
Even players who have traditionally been into this business like BPL, Siemens and Opto Circuits have become more aggressive and optimistic about this segment. BPL was the first Indian company in 1963 to manufacture medical devices in the country. It manufactures various medical diagnostic devices like ECG machines, patient monitoring systems etc. in non-invasive segment.
Opto Circuits is into various invasive and non-invasive diagnostic products like pulse oximeters, pulse oximeter sensors, fluid warmers, cholesterol monitors & recently stents. The company’s recent growth has been unprecedented.
Piramal Healthcare also has a diagnostics business, which is now run as a joint venture with Japan-based Arkray Inc. The joint venture has been re-building Piramal’s diagnostic devices business with an expectation of 40% growth in revenues this year.
Traditionally, these devices were directly imported from abroad with the importing company acting as a distributor. Now, most companies manufacture them here.