World Health Day: 5 major Indian healthcare companies that are keeping the country healthy at all times
This World Health Day, the world’s eyes will be on the coronavirus pandemic. The global health awareness day is celebrated every year on April 7 under the aegis of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
For the past several weeks, WHO has been instrumental in disseminating information about coronavirus and how people can stay safe from the highly contagious respiratory illness.
Like all epidemics, this too shall pass.
And when India would have defeated coronavirus, it will be forced to once again confront its reality of a public healthcare system marred by low-quality care, barriers to access medicines and services, lack of accountability, corruption, overcrowding of clinics, etc.
Heart disease, pulmonary disease, stroke, diarrheal disease, respiratory infections, and tuberculosis are among the top killers in India. These diseases have existed long before coronavirus and will continue to haunt India’s people, especially those with limited access to good quality healthcare.
Due to the challenges faced by the public healthcare system, private healthcare has emerged as the primary source of healthcare for the majority of households in urban and rural areas.
Some key contributors to its growth are rising income levels, greater awareness about health, increased precedence of lifestyle diseases, and improved access to insurance.
Indian private healthcare companies are steadily adding more hospitals, clinics, beds, and doctors to treat patients. They are also manufacturing a range of medical equipment and healthcare products.
This World Health Day, SMBStory has curated a list of five Made in India healthcare companies which are keeping the country healthy:
When BITS Pilani graduate GSK Velu was young, everyone in his family wanted him to become a doctor. It was a safe bet and a stable career choice. For a young man hailing from Aralvaimozhi, a panchayat town in Kanniyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, the word ‘entrepreneur’ was almost alien.
Velu says his family never imagined that he would become one. Today, Velu is a serial entrepreneur, technocrat, and a healthcare industry expert who founded Trivitron Healthcare – a medical technology company based in Chennai with a turnover of Rs 700 crore.
“I always believed in following my passion for healthcare entrepreneurship and learning from failure. It is difficult to learn from success,” says Velu.
Presently, Trivitron’s larger network of distributors comprises over 10,000 workers. It directly employs 1,000 people, out of which 300 are part of joint ventures.
Through his hybrid business model of manufacturing and distribution, Velu now seeks to make in India with 50 percent local manufacturing and 50 percent international manufacturing. He says this will bring down costs and help him in reaching out to many more hospitals.
An incident at a hospital set young Suresh Vazirani on an unexpected path to becoming a healthcare entrepreneur. It happened when Navnirman Andolan's Bihar leader Jayaprakash Narayan suffered kidney failure, and was admitted to a hospital.
Suresh tells SMBStory:
“At the hospital, the imported dialysis machine broke down and the service engineer was unavailable. Since I was a graduate in electrical engineering, I worked on the machine and made it functional at the right moment."
This incident made him think of the lives lost each day due to a lack of technical service for medical devices. He felt the creation of an affordable and easily-accessible medical technology provider was the need of the hour.
This inspired him to start Transasia BioMedicals in Mumbai in 1979. Suresh says he started In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) company Transasia with Rs 250 from his own pocket and Rs 1 lakh which he borrowed from a friend.
Over the years, Transasia has grown into a Rs 1,000 crore company that offers products and solutions in biochemistry, haematology, coagulation, ESR, immunology, urinalysis, critical care, diabetes management, microbiology, and molecular diagnostics.
In 2009, serial entrepreneur Raju Venkataraman started Medall in Chennai to capitalise on the growing demand for diagnostic services in India. His vision was to provide radiology imaging services and other diagnostic services to customers, and to provide a high level of diagnostic confidence to referral physicians.
Arjun Ananth, Medall’s current CEO, says:
“Raju and private equity firm Peepul Capital came together over 10 years ago to start Medall. The company was started when Raju acquired Precision Diagnostics in Chennai, a leading imaging and diagnostics centre in the city.”
Over the last decade, India witnessed a rise in health consciousness and improved awareness of chronic diseases. Hence, diagnostics became critical to healthcare services as accurate diagnosis and accurate treatment go hand-in-hand.
Riding this wave, Medall claims it has established itself as India’s fourth-largest diagnostic services provider and the largest integrated diagnostics provider.
The 2,500-employee firm says it has captured over 40 percent of South India’s market share for diagnostic services. It has 1,600 points of presence and over 180 labs across the country.
Before heart surgeon Devi Shetty launched his healthcare venture Narayana, there was a company that was excelling in manufacturing life-saving healthcare devices. Sahajanand Medical Technologies (SMT), founded by Dhirajlal Kotadia in 1997, was India’s first manufacturer of affordable cardiovascular medical stents that matched global standards.
In the early nineties, Dhirajlal noticed that heart diseases were prevalent in India and that treatment was limited to a small portion of the population due to high costs. This led Dhirajlal to wonder if he could manufacture stents locally and make them affordable.
Knowing that cheaper stents would greatly reduce the cost of heart surgery, Dhirajlal worked with his team of engineers and scientists to develop and manufacture the first Made-in-India stent. SMT achieved a product-market fit early on.
Over the years, SMT leveraged this strength to grow and became India’s largest manufacturer of stents. It also exports to over 60 countries. The Mumbai-based company which clocks a turnover of Rs 300 crore also emerged as a pioneer in biodegradable polymer and ultra-thin strut technologies used to manufacture coronary drug-eluting stents (DES).
Aishwarya Healthcare, a pharmaceutical company based out of Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, is one of the top three manufacturers of IVF. It exports around 15 million-20 million units to more than 30 countries, including ones in Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The company was founded by Neeraj Kumar Nir, a former employee of Coal India, in 2006, who teamed up with his wife, Gunjita Nir, for the venture.
“I always had an entrepreneurial approach towards life and wanted to work on something that could generate employment for the people. My relatives were already in the pharma industry and, gradually, I also stepped in.”
Aishwarya Healthcare was started with a Rs 24 crore bank loan. It now records an annual turnover of Rs 310 crore. The company employs 2,000 people directly.
“Aishwarya Healthcare was started with a dream to make quality healthcare products in-house for the masses. I saw in the intravenous industry a huge opportunity for quality manufacturing with state-of-the-art-technology,” Neeraj says.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)