Budget 2020: Allocate more funds for healthcare sector

Budget 2020 expectations: Allocate more funds for healthcare sector

By Manish Chhabra

The healthcare industry is expected to reach UDS $372 billion by 2022 owing to the rising income levels, greater health awareness, increased primacy of lifestyle diseases and improved access to insurance. 

The healthcare sector in India still needs to address a few of the fundamental challenges such as good infrastructure facilities, accessibility to good doctors, tech readiness of people, lack of awareness and non-availability of high-speed internet in remote areas. Additionally, there is a lack of strong data protection framework. Healthcare data collected is currently unstructured and available in multiple Indian languages. Healthcare is personal and services need to be customised as per the individual.

Challenges in the healthcare industry makes India a breeding ground for opportunities to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to people. The wide gap of access to quality healthcare services can be narrowed through leveraging technology via virtual clinics, e-prescriptions, telemedicine, digital medical financing, etc.

Healthcare is one of the major sectors in the country; and, there is huge interest observed in the Union Budget 2020 by the health tech players for sharing their expectations and suggestions. Below are a few: 

  • To allocate at least 25% increase in last year’s budget of INR 62, 398 crores for the healthcare sector, making it more affordable for the lower strata 
  • Policies and initiatives like moving towards reimbursed market from out of the pocket market; big policies need to be implemented to move the needle
  • GST on health tech /healthcare should be exempted, this will encourage more innovations in the healthcare sector 

The Govt must look at introducing policy focusing on the use of Biosimilars for all chronic diseases like Inflammation, Pain, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, etc. This will require an investment of USD 500 million initially for International level modular biosimilars’ manufacturing. Biosimilars adoption in developed countries like Australia has saved Govt’s healthcare burden by 50-70% on Biologics spending.

(Author is CEO and Founder, Shifa Care)