The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to HLL Lifecare, a Mini Ratna PSU under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, to sub-lease 330.10 acres of land at Chengalpattu, located in the outskirts of Chennai, to set up a medical devices manufacturing park (Medipark) through a special purpose vehicle. The shareholding of HLL in the project would be above 50 per cent.
The Medipark project will be the first manufacturing cluster in the medical technology sector in the country, envisaged to boost the local manufacturing of hi-end products at a significantly lower cost, resulting in affordable healthcare delivery, particular in diagnostic services to a large section of people. The proposed Medipark would contribute to the development of medical devices and technology sector and allied disciplines in the country, which is still at a nascent stage besides generating employment and give a boost to the government’s “Make in India” campaign.
Medipark will be developed in phases, spread over seven years for completion. In the first phase, physical infrastructure will be developed and plots will be leased from third year onwards. Knowledge management centre will be developed in the second phase, with grants and assistance from departments, which funds similar initiatives. HLL will sublease the land to investors, through a transparent bidding process to investors desirous to set up manufacturing units for medical equipment and devices. In the initial phase, the land cost to the qualifying entrepreneurs from medical device and equipment, manufacturing industry will be at a subsidized rate so as to attract others and the rate will go up gradually as the demand picks up. Thus the Medipark project will play an important role in enhancing quality healthcare delivery in India.
The project will reduce the dependence on imports and create a strong base for the growth of indigenous and domestic industry by providing access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and technology. The domestic manufacturing of medical devices and equipment shall not only usher in a regime of assured and affordable healthcare delivery but also deepen and strengthen the penetration of quality healthcare services.
The Indian information technology (IT) companies are looking to tap data digitizing opportunities in the life sciences sector. This is where several technology companies have started working in tandem with the life sciences companies.
“Life sciences industry has come a long way in digitizing at periphery and now is looking to adopt this in core areas of operations. These include areas spanning from genome sequencing to development of bionic limbs. There also could be a possibility of the leading global technology players like Google to enter wellness category, or Apple to deal with medical devices and Amazon to be engaged in e-pharmacy,” said Ram Meenakshisundaram, senior vice president, global delivery head, Cognizant Life Sciences.
“We are seeing life sciences industry to leverage technology and there are transformational initiatives to resolve the current problems impacting the sector”, said Meenakshisundaram at the recently concluded DIA event in Bengaluru.
“An agenda is needed by life sciences industry to use technology to innovate, transform and leap-frog to the next level of growth. This could be through cloud computing, investing into next generation infrastructure, mergers and acquisitions, adoption of intelligent automation and sourcing optimization for compliance and regulatory purposes,” he added.
Now technology plays a larger role than merely supporting the life sciences industry. Automation plays an important part and this is where Big Data platforms and pre-built instant IT solutions are beginning to be a major part. Such platform technologies are seen to be a paradigm shift in terms of cost and time saving.
“Science and technology are here to improve customer and employee experience. However India needs specific solutions because what works in China may not be suitable for our country. Therefore, we need to combine people, process and technology through a platform based model to measure the outcomes. It is critical to ensure that while the life sciences industry is modernized with technology, the processes need to be simplified,” he said.
Technology is the backbone to support agility and performance. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the ability to adopt an digital IT model seamlessly. The companies should also look at strengthening regulatory compliance and productivity in life sciences manufacturing through the strategic use of information technology, said Meenakshisundaram.