Turning bitter medicine into sweet success in IndiaBy Ogilvy Health
There’s a vast potential to be captured in India’s pharmaceutical market. The expansion of the affluent middle class, the government’s healthcare policies and improvement in intellectual property rights will propel the demand for quality drugs and medical services, and increase foreign direct investments in the sector. The government is increasing healthcare spending, while India’s urban population is also spending an increasing percentage of its disposable income on healthcare thanks in part to fast GDP growth and rising living standards.
More important, however, are the gaps to be filled. The shift in disease profiles of the Indian population has been marked by fast growth of the chronic diseases segment due to changes in lifestyle, habits and diet. India’s pool of diabetic patients is the largest in the world with more than 41 million people suffering from the disease, and the number is projected to reach 73.5 million in 2025, according to estimates by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Pharmaceutical and OTC companies attempting to capture the full potential of these opportunities will require forward thinking and strategies to cope with the new class of patients. Priorities such as making medicines more affordable, working with the government to improve hygiene and infrastructure conditions, as well as improving accessibility to medicines and health insurance, will be part-and-parcel of the process. Equally important will be the development of effective communication channels with patients and doctors in order to increase awareness and education about the ailments, prevention and treatment options. Such communication is critical to the country’s ability to stem the spread of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension, elevate stress on hospitals and medical professionals and give patients the proper treatment.
The need for pharmaceutical companies to develop effective communication strategies is particularly important in the Indian market for vaccines. India is one of the largest producers of measles, DPT and BCG vaccines in the world. Globally, there has been a shift in focus of patients and doctors from treatment toward disease prevention, which has boosted demand for vaccines. This has created opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to enter the health management and wellness space, and launch initiatives to complement governmental and companies’ efforts. Education and awareness about disease prevention is a major driver of the vaccine market.
While India’s rural areas present massive opportunities for pharmaceutical companies, they are also fraught with challenges. Amongst these are poor infrastructure, lack of affordability of the rural population, lower literacy levels and poor hygiene and living conditions. Understandably, healthcare is a low priority for the rural population, a large section of which make less than US$1.78 per day. The rural population tends to rely on alternative forms of treatment such as Ayurvedic medicine, Unani and acupuncture, a large part of which is provided by rural medical practitioners with no formal qualifications. These factors give rise to an even more fundamental need for pharmaceutical companies to raise awareness of diseases and treatment options through a comprehensive education and communication program involving medical practitioners, patients and the under-privileged population.
In India, Ogilvy Health is the only global health marketing solutions-provider to both local and MNC manufacturers operating in India and the Asia Pacific region. Our clients and commercial partners have diverse portfolios and commercial ambitions to match. By displaying local shared values with global knowledge and connectivity, our unique proprietary approach to solving our client’s India-specific business issues will enable us to fill the communication gap that exists today between the suppliers of medical products, services and patients.
For more information on how we can make a difference to your communication strategies, please contact: Emma Sergeant (firstname.lastname@example.org). APAC: Rohit Sahgal (email@example.com). India: Rana Bawa (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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