Pharma & healthcare sectors to see accelerating growth in 2018 with adoption of artificial intelligence: experts

Nandita Vijay, BengaluruWednesday, January 3, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Experts are of the view that pharma and healthcare sectors will see positive growth in 2018 as the  investments made in 2016 and 2017 in artificial intelligence would help the sectors reap the rewards of efficiency and transparency.

According to  Taher Abbasi, COO & Co-Founder of Cellworks Research India, 2018 would witness an accelerating change for pharma & healthcare industry. The sector is  set to take it to the next level and expected to see a huge adoption of artificial intelligence and big data in treatment process. Particularly, AI will help healthcare practitioners in data mining to identify risk factors for providing efficacious clinical treatment. On other hand, the use of precision medicine, real-time personalization, non-invasive monitoring, mobility and cloud will empower the healthcare ecosystem.

“Steady growth, strong profitability and modest capital expenditure will drive healthy cash flows from the pharma domestic market and support enhanced R&D spend for the regulated markets,” said Akshay Chitgopekar, Director, CRISIL Ratings.

Ameera Shah, promoter and managing director, Metropolis Healthcare said that the diagnostic industry emerged as a prominent game changer in the healthcare sector. India has also become one of the leading destinations for medical tourism and high-end diagnostic services, with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities, thus catering to a greater proportion of population.

In the upcoming year, we aim to bring international tests and technology to India and provide them to the customers at cheaper prices. We want to grow in the direction that allows us to be present at every nook and corner that brings us closer to the customers. We look forward to stringent regulations in the diagnostic market that will resist the entry of dubious players. Implementation of these standardised protocols will ensure consistent and world-class services to all the consumers, she added.

The government initiated a lot of new policies for the betterment of the country. Both the government and the industry are now working on gaining back the confidence of the masses and putting the healthcare back in structure, said Amol Naikawadi JMD, Indus Health Plus.

The bane of 2017 were demonetization, GST and cap in stent prices. A huge chunk of the healthcare receivers prefer paying in cash, however, due to the restricted use of cash, both caregivers and patients suffered loss in revenue and health, respectively. Capping on the stent prices was a good move to make it affordable for all, but it caused disapproval amongst the manufacturers and hospitals, resulting in a slowdown in medical innovations. Even though healthcare didn’t fall under the GST ambit, prices of certain critical services and diagnostics equipment saw an increase due to the input tax that indirectly increased the cost for the customers. However, the amendments made in October brought more relief and clarity, said Naikawadi.

In pharma, see successful resolution of regulatory actions from remediation efforts made over the past three years, even as regulatory scrutiny remains intense. For instance, warning letters on nine Indian plants were resolved in the past 15 months, which is considerably higher than the four seen between fiscals 2013 and 2016, said Anuj Sethi, senior director, CRISIL Ratings.