Advances in nanotechnology and genomics have enhanced the role of diagnostics in the healthcare market, allowing more tests to be performed at the point-of-care and facilitating the shift towards personalized medicine.
What are your views on the Asian diagnostics market? How has it evolved over the past decade?
Asia’s ageing population is expected to double by 2025, increasing the number of people likely to require medical treatment. Rising average life expectancies along with more affluent populations is expected to boost expenditure on healthcare treatments, including IVD.
Currently, lack of proper health insurance in most countries coupled with constrained personal finances has resulted in low levels of consumer spending. In the absence of a strong medical insurance sector, most of the healthcare expenditure is borne by the individuals themselves especially in countries like India and China.
The Asian In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) market has, over the past few years, been the only market experiencing a double-digit growth rate. A growing and ageing population and widening health insurance penetration are advancing growth opportunities in this high potential market.
For the Emerging technologies in the IVD Industry, Lab automation continues to evolve. The drive or thrust for smaller, faster and more accessible devices is increasing. Emerging markets have different needs with respect to the test menus, technologies used and operating procedures. Thus, made to order solutions need to be developed for these markets.
Lab automation has also taken on a new level of importance in the ability to actually get instruments interfaced to various laboratory information systems. Information technology has taken a giant leap in the IVD industry thereby reducing the dependence on a technically qualified individual to be present at all times during the analytical procedure without compromising on established levels of care.
Delivering the right data in a timely and cost effective manner while improving the sensitivity and specificity of the test is the need of the hour and the industry needs to gear up for single workstations that can carry multiple workloads.
The diagnostics market in India has been growing steadily over the years, what areas of growth are likely to drive the market here?
The emerging industry structure is headed towards providing healthcare services as an integrated comprehensive package rather than the traditional concept of providing healthcare infrastructure and reactive medical care. Growing health consciousness among middle and high-income families in India is heralding a new business opportunity—Preventive healthcare. This has shifted focus from in-patient treatment to a regular preventive health check. Corporates offer annual health check for their employees; insurance companies conduct pre-insurance policy check; and self paid health checks have also led to the growth in the market.
Today the diagnostics business is mainly based on technology. The Indian companies with their R&D facilities have developed a range of good quality products for the local market amidst fierce competition.
What are the new technologies driving today’s diagnostics market?
The global diagnostics market is undergoing radical change. Advances in nanotechnology and genomics have enhanced the role of diagnostics in the healthcare market, allowing more tests to be performed at the point-of-care and facilitating the shift towards personalized medicine. There are new opportunities in infectious disease testing, molecular oncology and pharmacogenomics.
How do you think personalised medicine and genomics are affecting the diagnostics market?
Personalised medicine is rightly called the ‘future medicine’ as it makes it possible to give the appropriate drug, at the appropriate dose and at the right time. This has unleashed the potential of significantly more effective diagnosis, therapeutics and patient care. With the breakthroughs in molecular diagnostics and advances in laboratory equipment, this piece of the diagnostics pie is going to play an increasingly large role in early diagnosis, monitoring and targeted pharmaceutical intervention.
Diagnostics are increasingly moving closer to the patient through point-of-care and home-based monitoring. What do you make of this trend?
Timely, accurate diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death for a patient. The driving notion behind point-of-care testing is to bring the test conveniently and immediately to the patient. Now most clinicians acknowledge that point-of-care testing is a prerequisite for early recognition of life-threatening conditions as they require that laboratory results be made available in real-time and, if possible, at the critically ill patient’s point–of-care. Point-of-care testing has come a long way from a handful of simple waived tests to what is today a multibillion dollar global market that holds great promise for the future.
However, it is not the magical potion or remedy for all the ills of our current healthcare system. Point of care acting as a complement, and not as a replacement, to central laboratory services can bring about a complete turnaround in clinical diagnostic testing.
Any other comments you would like to make?
Good quality healthcare is a basic fundamental right and should be made available for all but our government’s health systems are not able to provide even basic healthcare to the poor people. Per capita healthcare spending by Indian government, which is one of the lowest in the world, needs to be increased substantially and all healthcare products should be made totally free of taxes, to make them affordable.
Public-private partnership should also be encouraged in running Government Hospital / Healthcare centres. This will immensely help the common man in getting access to the latest technologies in healthcare system at an affordable cost.
Suresh Vazirani graduated as an electrical engineer from the Nagpur University. He founded Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd in the year 1979. Over the last three decades the company has grown to become India’s number one diagnostics company. TRANSASIA today follows a 360 degrees approach to its business from Manufacturing and Marketing to service and research.