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NEW DELHI : Wipro GE Healthcare Pvt. Ltd is set to manufacture many products under the production-linked incentive scheme, such as ventilators and entry-level CT scan machines, and may export these medical devices, managing director Shravan Subramanyam said in an interview.  The joint venture between US’s General Electric Co. and Wipro Enterprises is planing to raise investments to expand its footprint in India through an omnichannel strategy and scale up manufacturing, said Subramanyam, president and chief executive officer, GE Healthcare—India & South Asia region. Edited Excerpts:

 

What is the progress in terms of investments made under the PLI scheme?

We got approved in the two categories that we had applied for. The first one is already off to a great start. We launched a CT scan machine that is faster and consumes less electricity. It was designed entirely in-house in Bengaluru to cater to tier two cities and smaller hospitals. Next, we’ll launch the high-end CT scan, which is required for cardiac diseases. We have developed an ultrasound machine and a monitor for the ICU that will also be launched commercially. The very next product will be a catheterization lab, which is required for interventional cardiology and other procedures. These are all in the very near-term pipeline. I think later on we might have a model of a ventilator, but I do not have a specific date for it. We have started training people, bringing in components and you should see them in the local market soon. Every few months we will be launching new products from the PLI factory. We committed 100 crore (for five years) under the PLI, and we’ll follow through on that commitment. 

What other investments will we see going ahead?

It will mostly be business as usual to keep the factories and technology centres running. All of it requires a lot of investments. We are expanding our commercial business and reaching more regions in India.  We are adding more dealers, distributors and team members. So, in many respects, we are investing, whether it’s in service capability, manufacturing, repairs, dealerships, tech centres or factories. I don’t have a specific number, but this is the broad idea.

Are you doing something to enhance affordability as part of your strategy, or do you expect the government to make policy changes to improve access and affordability in healthcare?

From a patient standpoint, the government has some terrific programmes. Whether it is Ayushman Bharat, or states having separate programmes. The government has many initiatives to make healthcare accessible and affordable to their own employees and families and for people below the poverty line. Then you have the armed forces. There are many effective programmes that the governments have.

We partner with the government for public-private partnerships (PPP) because many hospitals have spare capacity that they are not using for private patients. So why not offer that capacity for patients who are sponsored through insurance schemes or by government. We probably run one of the largest PPP programmes across the country. In Assam alone, we run 28 CT scan centres. PPP is another way we can make healthcare widely accessible, and through affordable channels, by partnering with the government.

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