Philips India eyes scope for expansion of sleep labs to aid 8 million sleep disorders in the country

Nandita Vijay, BengaluruFriday, March 13, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Philips India is now on an aggressive mode to establish dedicated sleep labs not just in the metros but in the Tier II and III cities. Currently, India accounts for 300 sleep labs as against the requirement of 3,000 to 5,000 centres. It is also working to create a team of qualified medical experts and sleep lab technicians to detect sleep disorders and conduct sleep studies respectively. India accounts of 8 million cases of which a mere 1.2 million access treatment from the top 10 cities. Only around 30 specialists are armed with the know-how to detect and treat sleep disorders.

On the occasion of the World Sleep Day observed annually on March 13, Philips is now concerned about the lack of awareness about this disorder and the paucity of both specialists and dedicated labs to diagnose and treat the condition.

The company is also keen to ensure that Indian medical education introduces sleep disorders and therapies as a part of the syllabus. Besides the med-tech major sees the need for a specialisation for doctors to opt for the same during fellowship programmes. Currently, Phillips has taken on the onus to train medical experts about sleep disorders teaming up with the Indian Sleep Disorder Association. Since, then number of new doctors trained in sleep studies reported a tenfold increase from 50 in 2011 to 500 in 2014. This also enabled doubling the sleep studies from 20,000 in 2011 to 50,000 in 2014.

In 2009, Phillips began focusing on non invasive home respiratory therapy covering sleep disorder diagnostics and therapy. Its sleep disorder technologies alone generate 50-60 per cent of the revenues and its sales tripled since 2011. It has garnered a market share of 60-65 per cent of the total Rs.70 crore Indian market for sleep disorder solutions.

The big concern is the direct correlation between lack of sleep and life threatening heart conditions and diabetes among other diseases which is on the rise. Low awareness and inadequate access to clinical information are serious consequences, Udit Goyal, Business Head Home Healthcare (South Asia), Philips HealthTech, told Pharmabiz.

The need of the hour is to create an eco-system for sleep disorders diagnosis and treatment. For this Phillips offers its fully equipped sleep labs with equipment and experts on a leased basis with an easy financial model. The cost of setting up varies from Rs.6 lakh to Rs.30 lakh. For this, we have set our sights on the Tier II and III cities where incidence of sleep disorders is high and awareness is abysmal which is a seen as a big challenge, he added.

In order to drive home high quality affordable technologies, Philips India researchers are developing portable sleep labs for homes which could target the cases in the Tier II and III cities, said Goyal.