India's med device outfits beat multinationals on price

With robust, 20%-plus medical device industry growth expected in India this year, homegrown companies there are producing cost effective and even advanced versions of products sold by the multinationals. And they're succeeding in a market that global competitors are feverishly seeking to crack, even as they start out with more expensive alternatives.

The Economic Times reports on the trend, and highlights some of home grown medical equipment companies carving out crucial market share. There are quite a few these days--close to 700 in India's $5.2 billion device industry, according to the story. Among them:

  • Phoenix Medical Systems, maker of infant baby warmers.

  • Perfint Healthcare, a developer of surgical robots to treat cancer (founded by ex employees from GE Healthcare)

  • Forus Health, maker of a low-cost, portable ophthalmology device

  • Trivitron Healthcare, an international medical equipment and diagnostics distributor and maker

As the article explains, the surge in companies comes as India modernizes its healthcare system and entrepreneurs there began to seek a way to capitalize on the change and also improve the standard of care within the country's cost of living. The seeds for this go back even further, according to the story, to about a decade ago when India's universities began to launch biomedical programs, the graduates from which are many of today's home-grown entrepreneurs in India.

So why should multinational companies pay attention? The answer is simple. For device giants seeking to make an entrance into India, they can learn from the country's surging in-house device industry as far as product type and marketing approach. And these companies also offer acquisition targets down the line, for device giants that want a more immediate piece of the Indian market and would prefer to have an automatic foothold.

But they offer a competitive edge, as well. India imports much of its medical devices, and the more cheaper, domestic alternatives they can find, the fewer opportunities multinational companies will have unless they buy a piece of the local action.

- read the Economic Times story

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