Washington: The US Department of Commerce plans to take a ‘Medical Trade Mission´, comprising top American medical and healthcare industry manufacturers, to India in March 2010, targetting a major chunk of the fast expanding Indian health care market.
The trade mission would travel to New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai from 8-13 March, officials said.
During their week-long trip to India, the members of the mission would also participate in the ‘Medical Fair India´, one of the largest medical trade shows in India.
Healthcare experts point out that the Indian healthcare market, currently at $35 billion annually, is expected to reach more than $75 billion annually by 2012. The growth in affluence of more than $300 million middle-income consumers is creating demand for higher standards of healthcare.
The changing demographic profile and the rise of lifestyle-related diseases have altered the health seeking behavior of consumers. While private insurance covers only 10% of the population, coverage is growing at 40% per year. As a result of all these, the healthcare industry is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
Most Indian healthcare facilities use imported medical equipment for diagnosis, treatment and surgery with over 35% of the imports coming from the US. New specialty and super-specialty hospitals depend on import of high-end medical equipment for over 65% of their needs, and this sector is growing at a rate of 15% annually.
Medical tourism is one of the major external drivers of growth in India’s healthcare sector. India treated 450,000 foreign patients in 2007 and the expected increase in this sector is contributing to improved quality controls. India’s National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) operates accreditation programs for healthcare organizations.