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How this mother-daughter duo is addressing access to healthcare equipment in India

By Tenzin Norzom
March 29, 2022, Updated on : Thu Mar 31 2022 02:07:06 GMT+0000
How this mother-daughter duo is addressing access to healthcare equipment in India
Based in Chandigarh, mother-daughter duo Jaspreet and Amarpreet Rai founded Sanrai Med to offer critical medical equipment for sale, lease, or rent, along with at-home medical care services.
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In 2006, Amarpreet Rai and her family felt helpless when her great-grandmother, who suffered from respiratory problems, fell sick. Based in the US, Amarpreet was trying to get hold of an oxygen concentrator – which cost three times the price in the US – for her ailing great-grandmother in Chandigarh.


“That too, somebody had come and just dropped off a box. She was over 90 years old at that point and already sick while the caretakers had no idea how to operate the equipment,” Amarpreet tells HerStory.


She was struck by the difference in medical care infrastructure between the two countries.


The experience set Amarpreet and her mother Jaspreet Rai on an entrepreneurial journey to address India’s sluggish market of health care equipment supply and launched Sanrai Med in 2008.


The venture, she says, really came from a place of need.


“It really made us realise a gap between what is available and accessible in the western world and India. And more than just the equipment, it was the training and service support – the concept of homecare didn't exist in India and we were really the first ones to bring that idea back in 2008 to India to help patients and their families manage long-term illnesses,” she adds.


However, eldercare services including at-home medical support has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes Delhi-based Senocare, Gurugram-based EMOHA Eldercare, and Chennai-based eldercare Alserv, among others. 


With about 110 million senior citizens aged above 60 years in India, the eldercare market was valued at $1.5 billion in 2020.

eldercare

(Representative image)


A holistic solution

Sanrai Med is solving for access and is not so much focused on manufacturing. 


The brand sources products manufactured from 11 different countries and brings them to Indian consumers for sale, rental, or lease. 


The company then offers services such as training and education on the product’s usage and sets up the equipment to ensure the patient is comfortable with the equipment. 


Any further assistance and query can then be met through its 15 offices across India.

“We are looking to provide medical care at home because going to hospital is either complicated or these chronic and long-term diseases aren’t managed in hospitals in most cases,” she explains.

The primary focus for Sanrai Med is the respiratory space which is relatively small with little players in the market and enjoys a bit of an early mover’s advantage.


“We built relationships with the most innovative manufacturers very early on and selected the equipment by focusing on the innovative suppliers and high quality,” she says.


Despite affordability being a key focus, Amarpreet says, “There is absolutely a different cost in importing because the tariffs are high. Unfortunately, none of them are made in India but we are very open to working with products that are manufactured in India.” A typical oxygen concentrator purchase would cost anywhere from Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000.

She further adds, “India is still new in being a strong and reliable medical device manufacturing country. I say that because if you look at the regulatory environment around manufacturing and quality control, it is very present in pharmaceuticals. But that same regulatory and quality control framework does not yet exist in the Indian medical device manufacturing sector.”

While Sanrai Med initially began offering equipment for respiratory illnesses, it has now expanded to other therapeutic classes like the neonatal and maternal line based on the needs it saw along the way.


Seeing that quick and accurate diagnosis is a common challenge in the country, Sanrai Med introduced a range of diagnostic solutions to help influence disease management and outcomes for the better.


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti