Innovative healthcare companies obtain digital health patents for innovations defining future of healthcare. A majority of such solutions are based on usage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The innovations become eligible for patent protection after disclosing the best mode of implementation to the patent office, which is not just an abstract idea. Digital health startups primarily focus on multiple aspects such as, pharma supply chain, clinical intelligence, administrative automation, disease management, therapeutics, clinical trials, virtual care delivery, screening and diagnostics.
It is well known that early stage healthcare companies seek investment from external investors to fast track their growth. The investors invest in digital health startups based on a variety of factors including patent activity, competitive landscape, market potential, tech novelty, team strength, and business relations. There are certain categories of digital health startups that are bound to grow rapidly in near future, such as, telehealth, digital health insurance platforms, online-offline guided therapies, digital therapeutics for mental health, and patient engagement platforms.
Covid-19 has given rise to the vitality of developing the healthcare sector in India. In India the number of cases have exponentially risen according to per day calculations. Despite the lockdown measures taken by the government, the cases have increased dramatically leading to multiple deaths and cases in a day. Hospitals, clinics, clinical trials, medicinal centres, chemists, equipment, medicine export etc comprises the healthcare sector in India. The pandemic has made the world appreciate the importance of having a robust healthcare system. Countries like Italy and France having the best of the infrastructure facilities have also faced tremendous challenges during these tough times.
Therefore, in India it becomes even more important to have a little freebee to healthcare laws. This pandemic poses a great threat to the interconnected and interdependent world we live in. it has impacted all the sectors of the Indian economy. Owing to the tensions in the economy, the government has liberalised the FDI in various sectors to 100% incoming rate except in sectors like agriculture. The pandemic has led the countrymen to believe in the digitised economy. The regular consultations with the doctor and availability of medicines have also replaced the traditional methods. India’s healthcare infrastructure facilities before Covid-19 were counted as one of the worst healthcare facilities in the world. Covid posed a huge pressure on the healthcare system therefore, forcing the government to invite the FDI in healthcare facilities. FDI in healthcare facilities becomes important for India because the past decade has witnessed the rise of lifestyle diseases, rising demand for affordable healthcare delivery systems, cheaper but efficient technology. The recent trends in the healthcare sector range from luxury to absolute essential services.
The rise in diseases has led to the hospital’s consolidation leading to more efficient and advanced healthcare facilities. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the healthcare industry size is anticipated to touch USD 160 billion by 2017 and USD 280 billion by 2020. In any case, the huge gap in demand and supply of effective health care services and a developing capital interest inferable from operational expenses and technological acquisitions have pushed healthcare specialist co-ops to grow inorganically by converging with contenders or by enduring enormous capital infusions. While these investments will have a positive impact on the healthcare sector, there is a likelihood of growing the economic gap and lack of facilities for the downtrodden.
Ongoing occasions have seen enormous development in a secondary and tertiary care emergency clinics/hospitals in Tier 2 and Tier 3 urban areas.
The purposes of this pattern are complex. The per-capita income of people living in Tier 2 and Tier 3 urban areas has expanded fundamentally in the most recent decade, bringing about a huge increment in their ability to pay for healthcare. Also, Tier 2 and Tier 3 urban areas are now having the accessibility of land, work, power, and so forth requiring little to no effort and at low costs. The Ayushman Bharat activity is additionally prone to prompt an expansion in the number of medical clinics or hospitals in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Under the Union Budget 2020-2021, the Government has proposed to set up a suitability gap financing window for setting up medical clinics or hospitals through public-private organizations in Tier 2 and Tier 3 urban areas. These clinics would be empanelled with the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Therefore, if done efficiently Ayushman Bharat can transform the way medical facilities are provided to people in India.
Indian Foreign Investment is directed by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), the necessities under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the Industrial Policy Guidelines distributed in the authority of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry using the Secretariat for Industrial Assistance, DIPP. In the pharmaceutical sector, foreign interests are approved around 100 % in greenfield programs which are the present-day endeavors emerging in India and 74% in brownfield missions which are the winning projects in India in the automated way and foreign interest outperforming 74% in brownfield programs is managed by the government administration.
Another important criterion of interest in healthcare, clinical and surgical gear sectors is through venture equity undertaking by offices enrolled under the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as foreign investment capital investors. An FVCI is resistant from compliance with the evaluating schemes according to the NDI Rules for the increase of protections in entry and the transfer of protections for the exit if this intrigue is produced in Schedule VII of the NDI Rules. SEBI has been giving approvals to FVCIs exclusively for advantages in particular perceived sectors, among them being examination and development of new chemical beings in the pharmaceutical area, and components of SEBI stated Venture Capital Funds (VCFs) and in SEBI recorded Alternate Investment Funds (AIFs).
Undertakings in healthcare and medicinal services have seen gigantic consideration from foreign investors. In any case, considering the healthcare area, particular nuanced standards require to be assessed while accommodating as an investor in these ventures:
(a) Since the healthcare services division is primarily administered, there can be generous ramifications for defiance of the constructive necessities.
(b) It is critical to deduce if the centre or the clinic wherein the conceivable venture is to be planned, is set up on a freehold or leasehold surface.
(c) Review of subcontracting approvals for non-core activities and agreements with essential experts and professionals is significant.
Therefore FDI in the healthcare sector needs to be seen from a more organised perspective considering all the other laws and practical scenarios in place.
Foreign Direct Investment in sectors such as healthcare is the need of the hour. This initiative by the government has led to probable forecasting of India’s position in the world’s best healthcare. With the coming up of a pandemic, people have also realised that the upcoming times will bring in more lifestyle diseases, and viruses that would be lethal for humans. In such a state, India would need more and more of technologically advanced healthcare facilities, machines and medicines.
Covid has brought to light that the future in store is uncertain and therefore will require more flexibility into the laws. Though the healthcare sector is a state subject under the constitution of India, the laws made by the centre have a direct impact. The only problem that arises with respect to the central laws for state subjects is the allocation of funds and necessary resources.
The government has now allowed a 100% FDI in the healthcare sector through the government route. This means that there will be more private players getting into the market with the best of technology. Compromising on the allocation of funds would lead to the elimination of the purpose of inviting the FDI itself. However, proper resource allocation can lead to the following:
1. India can become the top 3 healthcare markets in the world in terms of monetary growth by the end of 2020.
2. The healthcare information technology market can be predicted to grow at a rate of 1.5% from the current 1$ bn.
3. By 2022, the healthcare diagnostic market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.4% to reach 32$ bn from 5$ bn in 2012.
4. The advancement in technology that led to growth of telemedicine is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20% to reach 32$ mn from 15$ mn.
Steps such as consolidation of hospitals will have more benefits in terms of the updated technology in the healthcare sectors. When two hospitals merge themselves to form one hospital, the assets and technologies of both of them get combined. This gives rise to even more healthcare accessibility to the public. The FDI policyof the government is more likely to bring the foreign players into the market with an even enhanced rate of participation in the healthcare sector. Technological collaborations with foreign healthcare players will help to organically grow in the sector while providing all the required facilities to the patients.
Another significant change is SEBI allowing the FVCIs to invest in the pharmaceutical sector. The requirement of supplements and chemical medicines have touched skies in recent times. Therefore, this step becomes crucial for the development in the pharmaceutical sector. The Ayushman Bharat scheme for the purpose of developing the tier 2 and tier 3 cities have also brought a lot of focus on the need to abridge the gap between tier 1 and tier 2/3 cities in terms of healthcare facilities and services.
All these policies and changes in the laws matter only when there is proper implementation of the same. Proper implementation requires fund allocation, resource allocation, the state-centre coordination, implementation of the FDI policies at the ground level, communication of such schemes to the public at large, making data available for RTI etc. Therefore, though the economic condition of the country seems to be falling down, the upcoming days can be full of growth for the country as a result of 100% FDI allowance in greenfield areas.