Ahead of India’s interim budget for 2024, industry experts call for increased government investment in healthcare, research and development, and pharmaceutical innovation. Emphasizing the need for regulatory reforms, enhanced healthcare funding, and support for the ‘Make in India’ initiative, leaders from pharma and healthcare sectors, including Vibcare Pharma, Healthium Medtech, Beagle Lasers, and Apollo Hospitals, highlight the opportunity to advance India’s role as a global healthcare hub. They advocate for collaborative efforts, local manufacturing support, and digital healthcare expansion to improve accessibility and quality of care across the country, aiming to propel the industry’s growth from $50 billion to $450 billion by 2047.
The Government of India needs to allocate more funds for research and development, healthcare funding, and innovation in pharmaceuticals in health sectors, the industry experts expect from the interim budget 2024 that is scheduled to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.
“The budget’s emphasis on research and development offers us an exceptional chance to innovate. We hope to see increased government backing in areas vital to us, such as regulatory reforms and more healthcare funding,” said Vibcare Pharma CEO Siddharth Singhal.
He said government support is crucial for the pharma and healthcare sector to address the dynamic healthcare needs of India. “By focusing on advanced R&D, we aim to introduce better and more cost-effective medicines. This budget’s healthcare focus aligns with our mission, promising growth opportunities and reinforcing our dedication to providing accessible healthcare solutions,” the pharma industry expert said.
“The forthcoming budget presents a transformative opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to excel in innovation, sustainability, and global competitiveness, further strengthening India’s position as a pharmacy of the world,” Singhal added. The industry’s current valuation is approximately $50 billion, with growth targets of $120 billion to $130 billion by 2030 and $450 billion by 2047, as per government estimates.
India continues to enhance its position and seize the opportunity to become a global hub for the medtech sector,the industry is poised to witness continued expansion, growth, investment opportunities, and technological innovation during FY 2024-25, said Healthium Medtech CEO and MD Anish Bafna.
He called for a collaborative action plan involving public-private partnerships between the government, medical device companies, hospitals, manufacturers and suppliers, healthcare providers, and insurance players, which continues to be the need of the hour. In addition, conducive policies will back the industry, encourage the spur in local manufacturing, and allow new medical devices to reach patients faster, benefiting patients and healthcare providers, Bafna said.
The Healthium Medtech CEO also stated that the healthcare industry will look forward collectively to a phased-out approach on custom duties, facilitation of single window clearances for local manufacturers, and increase in export incentives under RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products Scheme) along with broadening the scopes of schemes like PLI.
On the other hand, Beagle Lasers founder Dr Joy Shah emphasized that the major focus of the budget 2024 may be to strengthen the availability of quality healthcare to even rural areas of India.
“Import may be discouraged. We are expecting some changes in the GST tariff and services covered under healthcare. There may be a strengthening of import regulations to reduce the influx of imported medical equipment,” he said. “This budget may create a conducive environment for local manufacturers to thrive and contribute to the “Make in India” initiative, boost employment opportunities, and enhance the quality of healthcare services,” Dr Shah added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Harshit Jain, Founder & Global CEO of Doceree said: “We anticipate government’s continued commitment towards the initiative and look forward to a heightened focus on the robust implementation of this scheme in the upcoming fiscal year, fostering transparency in the healthcare ecosystem and accelerating advancements in treatment outcomes. We also expect a forward-looking approach from the government, emphasizing on allocating funds to enhance technology-powered innovative healthcare models tailored for India’s diverse population.”
“As a pioneer in the digital healthcare messaging industry, Doceree reaffirms its unwavering commitment to providing steadfast support to the government and its initiative and stands ready to contribute to the ongoing journey to fortify the digitalization of the healthcare economy, leveraging its expertise to drive positive transformation and innovation in the sector,” he added.
Union Budget 2024-25 is scheduled for February 1, with general elections looming on the horizon, this budget promises to be a delicate balancing act between fiscal prudence and populist measures. VarcoLeg Care CEO Veeky Ganguly stated the healthcare industry is anticipating policy measures that simplify the adoption of health technologies. “Streamlined regulatory processes and incentives for healthcare providers to embrace digital solutions would not only benefit our business but also contribute to a more patient-centric healthcare approach.”
“We’re optimistic about a commitment to skill development in the healthcare sector. A well-trained workforce capable of harnessing the potential of emerging technologies is crucial for our collective progress,” he said. “We hope to see increased funding to boost the manufacturing of medical equipment domestically, fostering the ‘Make in India’ initiative and supporting local manufacturers,” said Vikram Thaploo, CEO- Telehealth, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises.
He said that Apollo Hospitals’ Telehealth is looking forward to potential changes in GST tariffs and services covered under healthcare, expecting measures to strengthen import regulations and create an environment conducive to the growth of indigenous manufacturers.
“We expect that the budget will prioritize investments in public health infrastructure, primary healthcare facilities, and essential medicines, while promoting telemedicine and digital healthcare solutions. We urge the government to consider expanding Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes to cover the development of supporting hardware for advanced digital technologies like Generative AI,” he added.