Medical tourism to keep pharma industry in good health: Study
Mumbai : Indian pharmaceuticals market is expected to touch USD 55 billion in size by 2020 from USD 36.7 billion in 2016, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.92 per cent, and medical tourism will be the major growth driver, according to a study.
The pharmaceuticals market expanded at a CAGR of 17.46 per cent during 2005-16, from USD 6 billion in 2005 to USD 36.7 billion in 2016. By 2020, it is expected to reach USD 55 billion and figure among the top three pharmaceutical markets by incremental growth and sixth largest globally in absolute size, said a joint study by industry body ASSOCHAM and Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM).
The country's healthcare sector is expected to grow at a rate of CAGR of 29 per cent during 2015-20 to reach USD 280 billion on the back of with rising income, greater awareness, increased precedence of lifestyle diseases and improved access to insurance, it said.
The year 2015 witnessed 140 per cent growth in arrival of foreign tourists on medical visa as compared to 2013, where more than 50,000 people visited India on medical visa.
This number rose to about 1,34,000 in 2015. In fact, the number of foreign tourist arrivals on a medical attendant visa doubled from 2013 to 2015, increasing from 42,000-odd to more than 99,000, said the report.
The study revealed that in the first 6 months of 2016 alone, close to a lakh foreign tourists arrived on a medical visa, making it a very lucrative market. The top most countries availing medical visa were Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Republic of Korea and Nigeria.
The majority of the patients coming to India for treatment are from West Asia, Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka due to its expertise in cardiac and orthopaedic procedures, in addition to other specialised areas like neuro-surgeries, cancer treatment and organ transplantation. India is also attracting medical tourists looking for the traditional system of medicine available here, the study said.
The ability to offer holistic medical services such as unani, yoga, meditation, ayurveda, and homoeopathic treatments (AYUSH) is also a huge attraction.
The Government has recognised the potential of medical tourism and has come up with supporting policies. The Indian Ministry of Tourism is actively promoting medical tourism through overseas road shows where market development assistance (MDA) is provided to medical and wellness tourism service providers to encourage overseas promotion.