Back to Growth: Interview with Arnab Basumallik, Director, Government Affairs, Edwards LifeSciences India Pvt. Ltd.
1. How do you see the major trends that you witnessed during Covid-19 in your sector pan out in 2021?
The major trend during COVID-19 which we witnessed, was a decrease in certain procedures, such as heart valve surgeries or procedures, which affected patient care and the related business of medical technology companies like Edwards. We anticipate, this year the surgeries will normalize by Q3 to Q4 of 2021.
2. Where do you see the sector going ahead in 2021 after the announcements made in the Union Budget?
We welcome the initiatives undertaken by the honorable finance minister on PM -' AtmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana', will be launched with an outlay of about Rs. 64,180 crores over 6 years. This will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care health systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases.
Till now, as per the Department of Pharmaceuticals- KIHT GlOBEXIM Report 2019, medical devices sector in India had a market share of just 1.6% of the global market. These initiatives taken by the Finance Minister, will increase the market access of medical devices to a larger number of patients thereby, boosting the sector and attracting more investors in these segments to help to advance and improve patient care.
3. What potential do you see in the sector for job creation in the coming period?
In the short term and mid-term - as and when these primary, secondary and tertiary medical centers will be coming up, the requirement of clinicians and paramedics and other health care professionals will increase. Innovative medical device companies like Edwards Lifesciences, will need to increase their investment in training and uplifting the skill sets of healthcare professionals on advanced technologies, thereby, appointing more clinician specialists and bring in investment into infrastructure development to support the last mile logistics, invest into regulatory, quality efforts and servicing of equipment, leading to more employment in the country.
4. Do you think the sector space in India could be lucrative for foreign investors around the world given the global scenario?
Yes, presently India has a market share of just 1.6% of the global medical devices sector but holds a population of 18%. Hence, there is a tremendous opportunity of growth of medical devices sector as more and more patients are brought into universal healthcare – with better access to health insurance and with the development of health infrastructure. So, as opportunities for patient care grow and as India continues to offer competitive advantages for Investment, it will attract global investors.
5. What is your analysis and opinion of the Union Budget, as announced on February 1, 2021 for your sector?
The budget especially the investment proposal made under Part A, under Health & Wellbeing is the right step in the right directions. We have heard the honorable FM saying “Even at the outset, I would like to say that the investment on Health Infrastructure in this Budget has increased substantially. Progressively, as institutions absorb more, we shall commit more “. We aspire to see more commitment of investment in health infrastructure.
We, in Edwards Lifesciences India, even though expect the COVID impact on sales at the start of the year, will continue to invest further in our innovations that have a tremendous opportunity to enhance patients' lives and bring significant value to the health care system. The next challenge will be to ensure that the patients visiting these new hospitals get access to the latest lifesaving medical technologies. Edwards Lifesciences looks forward to work with Invest India to work on this aspect of market access, skill development and providing the last mile deliverables to help reaching our technologies to every corner of the country.