The Future of Home Diagnostics and OTC Health Products

Sushil Suri, Chairman & MD at Morepen Laboratories

 Sushil Suri, Chairman & MD at Morepen Laboratories

Sushil Suri is an innovative entrepreneur with 30+ years in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and biotech and in the US, he leads pioneering biosimilars. A Science Graduate from Chandigarh and a Chartered Accountant by profession, he also did a Digital Transformation course at UC Berkeley, showcasing expertise in business analysis, M&A, financial accounting, and strategy building. Committed to industry innovation, he drives global pharmaceutical advancements. In an interaction with Thiruamuthan (Correspondent, India Pharma Outlook) Sushil, explored the evolving landscape of home diagnostics and OTC health products, emphasizing technological advancements, consumer centric solutions, and the pivotal role of accessibility in shaping the future of healthcare. Below are selected highlights from the insightful conversation.

How has the home diagnostics manufacturing landscape evolved recently, and what industry trends are driving its future?

The home diagnostics landscape in India is evolving, with a potential growth from $11 billion to $50 billion by 2030. Expansion into digital weighing scales, thermometers, and oximeters, along with R&D efforts, marks a promising future. Government initiatives, like Medical Devices Parks, aim to promote domestic manufacturing and export opportunities, anticipating 15-20% annual growth.

In the context of global health challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, what lessons has the pharmaceutical industry learned, and how has it influenced its approach to future crises and health emergencies?

The pharmaceutical industry in India demonstrated resilience and made significant global contributions during the pandemic. The integrated response and collaborations within the industry during the crisis played a crucial role in setting the stage for preparedness. Pharmaceutical companies manufacturing in India, benefiting from the 'Make in India' initiative, experienced operational ease, established efficient processes, and had the flexibility to pivot strategies as needed. A notable example is evident in the case of COVID vaccinations, where reduced dependency allowed us to vaccinate people globally, earning the title "Pharmacy of the World." Lessons learned encompass the importance of global collaboration, scalable emergency medicine production, and innovative healthcare delivery. These insights are actively shaping the industry's approach to future health crises, fostering adaptability and readiness.

Regarding sustainability and environmental concerns, how is the industry addressing these issues in product manufacturing and distribution?

The pharmaceutical industry in India is actively addressing sustainability through various initiatives. This includes the implementation of an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework, aiming for reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The adoption of a Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) policy at manufacturing units has had a significant positive impact on the environment. The digitization of processes, resulting in a paperless approach, contributes to saving trees. Moreover, the industry focuses on sustainable packaging, optimizing transportation routes, and developing sustainability policies to further enhance environmental responsibility.

What role is technology expected to play in the future of home diagnostics and OTC health products, and how is the industry leveraging it for a competitive edge?

Technology, particularly machine learning and AI, is poised to revolutionize home diagnostics and over-the-counter (OTC) health products. The integration of machine learning and AI with big data enables precise diagnostics and personalized treatment strategies. Wearables, coupled with machine learning and AI capabilities, empower users by providing real-time insights, thereby advancing health management. These technological advancements not only contribute to data-driven solutions but also offer a competitive edge by delivering consumer-friendly products and services.

Can you provide insights into the potential impact of government policies and healthcare reforms on the pharmaceutical industry, specifically in the context of home diagnostics products and market segments?

Government policies and healthcare reforms have a substantial impact on the pharmaceutical industry. These measures encompass fostering innovation through incentives and research and development (R&D) support, ensuring compliance with quality and standards, addressing affordability through pricing policies, and investing in healthcare infrastructure to enhance accessibility. Initiatives like 'Make in India' promote domestic manufacturing, while support for telehealth and remote monitoring encourages the adoption of home diagnostics products. Especially, schemes like the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for the promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical components and the New Drugs, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Bill, 2023 further shape the regulatory landscape with implications for manufacturers and patient safety considerations.

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