Looking to India, Medtronic names new director and funds disease treatment

Dr. Preetha Reddy--courtesy of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited

In its focus on emerging markets, Medtronic ($MDT) has turned to India, selecting one of the nation's top hospital officials for its board of directors and committing $6 million in grant money to expand access to care in the country.

First, the world's largest devicemaker elected Preetha Reddy, managing director of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited, to its board of directors. Apollo is one of Asia's largest hospital groups, and Reddy has years of experience in industry and government, working to strengthen collaboration between Indian and U.S. interests.

Reddy is "one of the world's true pioneers" in bringing care to emerging markets, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak said in a statement, and adding her to the board will help the company expand its offerings around the world. "She will be a valued adviser as we focus on globalizing our company and developing innovative therapies that provide both clinical and economic value," Ishrak said.

Backing up that goal, Medtronic has separately committed $6 million over 5 years to help India's underserved populations get access to clinical care. The money is focused on programs for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, two serious concerns in the country. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in India, claiming 3 million lives a year, and the country is home to more than 60 million diabetics, according to Medtronic.

The grant is administered through the Medtronic Foundation, and the latest commitment was inspired by last year's United Nations High Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases, foundation executive director Jacob Gayle said in a statement.

"By focusing on diabetes and cardiovascular disease, we hope to strengthen overall health systems in order to expand access in underserved communities," Gayle said. "Given both the need and opportunity in India, it was clear that we needed to ramp up our support to help those already working to improve care."

- read Medtronic's statement on Reddy
- here's the company's release on the grant