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‘Pandemic’s unprecedented situation has brought the Medtech industry to the fore of healthcare systems’

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Covid-19, medtech, healthcare, Healthium, surgicals, Atmanirbhar Bharat, Anish BafnaMedtech {industry} has been one of many key contributors to the healthcare ecosystem even earlier than the pandemic.

The function of the medical gadgets {industry} in guaranteeing enterprise continuity and necessary deliveries throughout the pandemic has been crucial. Covid-19 has as soon as once more introduced Indian medtech to the epicentre. The present pandemic has led the medical gadgets {industry} to shortly recalibrate throughout the worth chain and serve healthcare’s crucial wants. This has additional put the medical gadgets {industry} on the forefront, with unparalleled demand for merchandise like diagnostic checks, private protecting gear (PPE), masks, gloves and way more. Whereas the disaster has positioned these unparalleled calls for, however the {industry} has responded with resilience and skill to combine improvements swiftly. In an unique dialog with the Monetary Specific On-line Anish Bafna, MD & CEO, The Healthium Group talked about how Healthium Group led the enterprise continuity and responsiveness throughout the pandemic, given Healthium’s place as a number one medical gadgets producer in India and different 70 geographies. Excerpts:

Elective surgical procedures have gone down immensely, since Healthium’s main enterprise is surgicals, how are you managing the enterprise now? 

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The final 12 months with the first wave has been each unprecedented and unpredictable. Electives surgical procedures had dropped very sharply within the first 4 months, hospital walk-ins lowered initially and the {industry} and market de-grew total. Healthium has nevertheless registered a double digit progress and has been capable of maintain our enterprise trajectory intact. That is largely as a consequence of robust measures put in early to make sure enterprise continuity to serve our prospects, and guaranteeing satisfactory security protocols for our staff.

  • A robust state of preparedness and agility in serving our prospects with out disruptions even throughout the Lockdowns: After we heard of the consequences in China, we ensured that we had satisfactory inventory of uncooked supplies for the subsequent few months, we had been amongst the first to maintain our vegetation open with due security pre-cautions, we ensured that our warehouses and depots had been effectively stocked to make sure steady provide of important medical gadgets to hospitals and our gross sales groups had been amongst the first to be on the bottom as early as Might to serve our prospects.
  • Our effectively diversified portfolio and sources of enterprise: Whereas elective surgical procedures dipped, emergency surgical procedures like Cardio-vascular surgical procedures and childbirth continued .We ensured satisfactory product availability to serve our prospects in these segments at any time when they wanted assist even throughout Lockdown. Whereas Tier1 markets might have slowed, the market actuality in Tier2,3 and 4 cities was very completely different. It was enterprise as normal with crowded OPD and surgical procedures. We consolidated our management and our robust distribution in these cities and labored carefully with hospitals and nursing houses to make sure training on COVID applicable protocols in OPDs and OTs with “Protected surgical procedures saves lives” marketing campaign .These segments additionally contributed to our progress.
  • Slew of latest product launches and progress in exports: Regardless of worldwide freight expenses skyrocketing, we took the hit and served our worldwide prospects too in a well timed method and this helped us construct robust fairness and develop our exports. We additionally invested closely in R & D to herald a slew of latest merchandise, over 1 product, each quarter together with 1st of its type Trushield anti-microbial gloves that protects each surgeons and sufferers in opposition to Hospital acquired an infection and SSI by actively killing microbes, Surestitch the first meniscal restore gun manufactured in India and so forth.

This mixed with robust money stream administration enabled us to tide by forward of the curve.

Within the second wave too, we’ve got taken a number of measures to make sure we assist the frontline Healthcare practitioners. This mixed with the host of latest merchandise we plan to herald, our huge protection community of 18000 geo tagged hospitals in India , robust deal with partnering with giant hospitals in Tier 1 and consolidating market Management in Tier3,4,5, we hope, will assist us steer in direction of a superb 2021.

Do you assume medical gadgets and consumables {industry} has advanced within the final two years contemplating the most important reviews have acknowledged in any other case? 

Medtech {industry} has been one of many key contributors to the healthcare ecosystem even earlier than the pandemic. Nevertheless, the unprecedented scenario has introduced the sector to the fore because of the healthcare programs’ reliance on it in combating the pandemic. 2020 has been a difficult 12 months for the MedTech {industry}, with drop in electives and hospital footfalls particularly within the early phases of the pandemic.  Nevertheless, the pandemic has additionally supplied means to strengthen the healthcare {industry} with alternatives for innovation and value efficiencies. The early calls for on the medical gadgets and consumables sector for masks, PPE kits, Testing kits, ventilators, gloves, anti-microbials has been met with the {industry} rising to the event and matching the wants of the nation.

The pandemic has additionally actually thrown open the necessity to create a far strong medtech infrastructure. There was an over reliance on imported medical gadgets and consumables with 75 to 80% gadgets being imported, the availability chain infrastructure wants larger resilience, manufacturing may be very fragmented and there’s a robust have to create entry to prime quality, excessive precision medical gadgets within the nation. Whereas a humanitarian disaster of this scale can’t be seen as a profiteering alternative, it has undoubtedly added the much-needed tailwind for the sector to be recognised for its significance and be positioned in the correct mild.

How are you supporting the healthcare fraternity as an important service supplier? How are you overcoming the challenges to fulfill the present demand of medical gadgets and consumables? 

The healthcare {industry} has been on the forefront of the battle in opposition to COVID and our crew has been working exhausting to assist them. We’ve got ramped up manufacturing of important medical gadgets and saved our manufacturing services open with due permissions and precautions, regardless of the lockdown, to make sure un-interrupted provide to hospitals.

We’ve got quick tracked manufacturing schedules to allow crucial deliveries inside 24-48 hours. We’ve got expanded our provide chain by 40% to assist faster deliveries to healthcare services in distant elements of the nation. We’re conscious that childbirth and emergency surgical procedures like cardio -vascular surgical procedures nonetheless proceed regardless of the pandemic and have ensured that crucial merchandise are in sufficient provide.

Whereas the pandemic has introduced new challenges to the {industry}, it has additionally supplied means to strengthen the healthcare {industry} with alternatives for innovation. Healthium has continued to speculate closely in R&D and on new product growth even throughout the pandemic.

The final 2 years for Healthium have been a transformational journey on high quality, merchandise, processes, know-how and folks and in consequence we’re at the moment largest maker of suture needles globally with 1 in 6 surgical procedures utilizing our product. We’re the 4th largest suture producer globally accounting for over 50% of India’s suture exports. We at the moment have entry to 18,000 hospitals pan India. In India, Healthium is current in 500 districts which have medical services and offering the final mile assist of important healthcare providers to sufferers throughout the nation.

Healthium is supplying its merchandise to 80 nations globally supporting the agenda of “Make in India and for the World”. We’re the one firm to have a 510K (USFDA) approval on this a part of the world. We even have C.E and ISO high quality approvals.

It’s our endeavour to create prime quality Indian options to MNCs. We’ve got invested closely in R & D and in our analysis centre at Noida. Our goal is to be companions for the main hospitals within the nation to make sure straightforward accessibility of high quality medical gadgets for higher affected person outcomes. We goal to solidify our place in Tier 1 cities and use our confirmed {industry} credentials and powerful legacy to associate with key hospital networks, drive accelerated progress and provide shoppers extra decisions.

Anish Bafna, MD & CEO, The Healthium Group

Over the past and present wave, manufacturing workforce has struggled to maintain up with the roles? How have you ever addressed this subject at your services? 

COVID-19 has created disruptions in lives, livelihoods and methods of working, and disrupted our private {and professional} wellbeing.

As a accountable medtech firm and an important service supplier, our focus has at all times been on the protection, bodily, psychological and equally necessary, on the monetary wellbeing of our staff and groups on the vegetation. Our groups have been instrumental in serving to us serve the healthcare practitioners and frontline staff with out disruption.

We’ve got subsequently ensured that there’s not even a single job reduce at Healthium since final 12 months. Actually, we’ve got not solely paid salaries on time, but in addition paid increments, bonuses, variable pay, to make sure we inspire and assist our groups.

Holding in thoughts monetary safety is paramount throughout these unsure instances, the corporate has not solely ensured that ESI, COVID insurance coverage, Life covers for its staff are in place however has additionally introduced bereavement allowance of Rs 20 Lakhs to the household of the bereaved in case of the unlucky lack of life on an worker as a consequence of COVID. The corporate will even guarantee EDLI upto Rs 7 Lakhs and different welfare measures like reimbursement of prices of vaccine, RT-PCR checks, scans and blood marker checks.

It has additionally performed the inoculation drive for staff and their households. Always, we proceed to achieve out to the bothered staff and their households to make sure they’re effectively supported.

We additionally spent the final wave strongly outlining measures to make sure security for our staff and groups working at our vegetation. Whereas bodily precautions like social distancing, thermal checks, on-site medical assist, provision of masks, gloves, sanitizers, logistics assist on transport, alternate shifts had been being managed, psychological well being and anxiousness of the groups and their households additionally turned key issues. Counselling for households, no wage cuts, incentives for staff had been all undertaken to make sure that the crew felt protected in all methods.

What’s your tackle the current GST rest on medical gadgets? Do you assume it’ll profit the {industry} within the quick time period and longer run? 

The current rebate has been solely on the COVID associated medical gadgets.  The present panorama wants to handle the lopsided GST tax construction if the dream of an Atmanirbhar Bharat must be actually realised. Through the years, import duties on medical gadgets are decrease than these on the uncooked supplies that goes into the making of those medical gadgets. Ever because the introduction of GST, imported medical gadgets have change into cheaper. This has made importing uncooked supplies and medical gadgets far cheaper than native manufacture and a change in tax construction will definitely assist in the a lot wanted enhance to native manufacturing.

Provide chain has been a serious problem for important companies. How are you managing to maintain it operational throughout the pandemic? 

The distribution prowess of the massive scale producers in medical gadgets and consumables at the moment is determined by the native market dynamics, therefore localisation turns into an important side to supply final mile supply. Buyer calls for and the ensuing strain on the availability chain varies tremendously by way of merchandise, scientific wants, various geographical areas and the penetrating energy of native suppliers. Subsequently, figuring out essentially the most appropriate distributors and suppliers that meet necessities, is the important thing to success.

We’ve got expanded our Provide chain by 40% because the pandemic in order that we are able to overcome logistics hurdles to make sure clean stream of important medical gadgets and consumables to our shoppers together with these in distant elements of the nation. We’ve got additionally expanded our depots, C&F brokers, warehouses to make sure, our community of 18000 hospitals throughout 500 districts in India, is effectively lined.

Authorities’s current deal with ‘Make in India’ has progressed immensely in medical gadgets manufacturing. Do you assume it is going to be possible for medical gadgets {industry} contemplating the large import dependency on uncooked materials in addition to gadgets? 

The Medical Gadgets {industry} has been recognised because the sunshine sector by the federal government, nevertheless the truth to attain this standing continues to be a good distance. The present import dependence stands at 75-80% with exports restricted to US$2.1 billion as of 2019. This clearly signifies an enormous alternative for the home-grown gamers to show the tide with a view to achieve equal standing because the pharmaceutical {industry}.

Some components that would assist embrace:-

∙       Help / Incentives from Authorities:

  • Advantages to native producers in authorities/public tenders and for procurement in public hospitals: For e.g. worth advantage of 10-15% versus any overseas firm which doesn’t manufacture within the house nation. For e.g. nations like Turkey, Sri Lanka, South Africa, China and so forth. have such measures in place.
  • Export incentives: A number of governments by taxation and different means incentivise the export of medical gadgets from their nations. Examples of such incentives embrace GST waivers, import obligation waivers on RM associated to exports, tax rebates and so forth.

∙       Improve competitiveness / innovation:

  • Whereas native authorities aiding the gross sales of home corporations is extraordinarily useful, there may be additionally a accountability to develop corporations which manufacture merchandise that are high-quality in addition to inexpensive. For serving to with the identical, governments in creating nations (e.g. China, Mexico) have been offering assist on the R&D / innovation associated bills of medical gadget corporations to spice up growth of progressive, high-quality and cost-competitive medical gadgets.
  • Constructing giant medical gadget tech parks which might change into hubs of producing within the nation and doubtlessly export hubs to the world like India has change into in Pharma.

Such measures can go a good distance in hastening the realities of making an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

As an Indian participant delivering to world requirements with US FDA (510K), CE and ISO approval, we’re working relentlessly to cut back the dependence on imported know-how and assist a self-reliant India. A trusted associate to the healthcare {industry}, Healthium has created over 55 patented merchandise in India and the U.S, and garnered entry to 18,000 hospitals in India and 80+ nations to ship excessive precision, prime quality merchandise.

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