Perspectives on Indian Pharma Industry

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty Perespectives on Indian Pharma Industry

Making Heart Care Affordable

A doctor, with experience of more than 20 years and with the honour of being personal physician to Mother Teresa, reinvents the process of delivering heart care by applying the principle of economies of scale.

Making Heart Care Affordable At the Narayana Hrudayalaya, heart surgeries are performed at a tenth of the cost of surgeries in the developed world. The founder of the hospital, Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, and his team have devised some innovative cost management techniques. Dr. Shetty has also been instrumental in setting up a microinsurance scheme to augment the healthcare spending power of the rural population.

In a developing nation, one of the most important indicators that reflects the inclusiveness of its growth is its spending on healthcare. Indian healthcare spending is about 4.1% of its GDP. The Indian healthcare industry is worth approximately USD 54 billion, and has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12% in the period between 2001 and 2009. However, economic growth also has its impact on the prevalence of disease in a nation.

Generally, high growth countries witness the rise of several lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and heart ailments (medically known as cardiovascular diseases). In India, it is estimated that Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) are among the top three contributors to the country's total disease cases (i.e. about 10%). These situations have created the need for an innovative approach towards this health concern. In one such initiative, Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty decided to make heart care accessible to all sections of the population at an affordable cost. Dr. Shetty has been in the medical profession for about 25 years and has worked at Guy's Hospital in London, the Birla Heart Research Foundation in Kolkata and the Manipal Heart Foundation in Bangalore, before setting up his own hospital. He also has the distinction of having been personal physician to Mother Teresa.

It was his interaction with Mother Teresa and her philosophy that inspired him to think about affordable healthcare. Dr. Shetty's vision for affordable healthcare led him to start the Narayana Hrudayalaya Institute of Cardiac Sciences in Bangalore in the year 2001. He adopted an unconventional approach towards making heart care affordable. He adopted the principle of economies of scale (i.e. delivering cost advantages through expansion, resulting in a lower per unit cost) for lowering healthcare costs and increasing accessibility. The adoption of this principle in healthcare was rather unique and had never been heard of earlier from an application stand point.

- Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty

Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty
Cardiac surgeon
Padma Bhushan Awarded

In 2001, Shetty founded Narayana Hrudayalaya (NH), a multi-specialty hospital in Bommasandra on the outskirts of Bangalore City (Karnataka State) in South India. Apart from cardiac surgery, NH also has cardiology, neurosurgery, pediatric surgery, haematology and transplant services, and nephrology among various others. The heart hospital is the largest in the world with 1000 beds performing over 30 major heart surgeries a day. The land on which the health city was built, was previously a marshland which was reclaimed for this purpose. The Health City intends to cater to about 15,000 outpatients every day. The Narayana Hrudayalaya Health City in Bengaluru is an academic institution in the process of becoming a university. Dr. Shetty also founded Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) in Kolkata. Shetty has also signed a MOU with the Karnataka Government during the Global Investor's meet to build a 1000 crore 5,000 bed super speciality hospital near the Bangalore International Airport.

He has performed over 15,000 heart operations.

He was a part of the seven-member panel of Board of Governors which replaced the MCI and served for a period of one year before it was further reconstituted.

His hospitals have reduced costs by taking advantage of the economies of scale, this allows them to complete heart surgeries for a tenth of the cost in the United States. The wall street journal has given him the title of Henry Ford of heart surgery.In 2013 six new hospitals will be opened on the Narayana Hrudayalaya model, across the country which will provide high quality treatment at low cost. In the next seven years, there are plans to expand to 30,000 beds with hospitals in India, Africa and other countries in Asia.

Dr. Shetty and his family have a 75 percent stake in Narayana Hrudayalaya which he plans to preserve so that he does not have to comprise on the freedom or decision making power in his mission to help the underprivileged and to bring down the cost of healthcare in the country.

In 2012, Dr Shetty spoke on Aamir Khan's show, Satyamev Jayate, that he has opened a new medical insurance scheme in rural India where the poor pay a minute Rs. 10 per month for a yearly medical insurance plan provided by his hospitals and tele-clinics around India.

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