Healthcare to India

Trends and opportunities

The market

The Indian healthcare market today is worth US$100 billion and is expected to grow to US$280 billion by 2020 (Source: Ibef ). This growth over the next five years will be driven by increased consumer spending, shifting disease burdens and the sheer size of the population, supported by the Indian Government’s initiatives to improve national healthcare infrastructure. India's universal health plan that aims to offer guaranteed benefits to a sixth of the world's population will cost an estimated US$23.72 billion over the next four years (Source: IBEF 2016). The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has also sanctioned more than US$10 billion for capacity enhancement of healthcare in India by allowing foreign players to enter the market.

Indian’s healthcare delivery system is categorised into two major components - public and private. The public healthcare system is limited to secondary and tertiary care institutions in key cities but is largely focussed on providing basic healthcare facilities in the form of primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in rural areas. The private sector provides majority of secondary, tertiary and acute care institutions with a major concentration in metros, tier I and tier II cities.

The healthcare segment in India includes hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, pharmaceuticals, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment.


Digital health

Australia’s experience in delivering healthcare in remote areas and using data analytics to predict future demand is synergistic with India’s need for remote health in rural parts of the country. The Indian Government’s Centre of Health Informatics has released an Expression of Interest for development and execution of an integrated health platform for development of E-Health records and an information exchange pan-India.

Key players: Call Health, Portea Medical, Live Health, Tata Consultancy, Terra blue.

Life sciences

India is among the top 12 biotech destinations and ranks second in Asia after China. Research and development investment is growing off a low base and there is opportunity to work with major pharma companies interested in partnering with small technology groups that offer solutions which can be integrated with in-house capability. Of particular interest are vaccine technologies for tropical diseases, drug development and delivery for lifestyle diseases as well as animal health and a growing interest in Australia’s capability in nutraceuticals.

Key Players: Biocon, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddys Laboratories, Cipla, Strand Lifesciences, Lupin, Wockhard, Bharat Biotech, Biological E.


There is a massive shortfall in training and skills required to supply suitably trained workers across all levels of the healthcare sector. The focus will be on opportunities to deliver training in market including joint programs for post graduate certificate courses in specialities, technical short courses and online modules.

Key Players: Apollo Education, Care Hospitals, Medanta, All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Clinical trials

The clinical research market in India has comparative advantage in conducting clinical trials regarding cost efficiency and a vast population suffering from acute chronic diseases, however government regulations regarding the compensation rule and approval time are hampering the market at present making it too expensive and difficult to conduct the trials in India. While the wait for the process to improve continues, research-oriented large companies are approaching overseas markets to shift their trials. This creates an opportunity for Australian Clinical Research and Clinical Trials organisations with a reputation for quick turnaround time and quality standards, as an ideal trial destination.

Key Players: Dr Reddys Laboratories, Cipla, Wockhard, Bharat Biotech, Sun Pharma.

Senior health and living

The sector is emerging but there are opportunities to get a first mover advantage by working with the premium end of the market on skills development, specialist management and consulting services and facility design.

Key players: Heritage Group, Apollo Homecare, Care Homecare, Indian Home Health, Antara senior living.

Competitive environment

There are vast opportunities for investment in healthcare infrastructure in both urban and rural India.

India's competitive advantage lies in its large pool of well-trained medical professionals and also its lower cost for health care delivery when compared to counterparts in Asia and Western countries. India also offers vast opportunities in R&D as well as medical tourism.

Conducive policies for encouraging FDI, tax benefits and favourable government policies coupled with promising growth prospects have helped the industry attract private equity, venture capitals and foreign players.

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

In order to succeed in India a sound business plan, a long-term strategy and some degree of local presence is usually required. Important points to consider are:

  • Develop a local business presence through an agent, representative office or joint venture partner.
  • For most exporters it is necessary to establish a local presence through an agent/distributor, representative office or joint venture partnership. To maintain business contacts or where regular sales or service follow-up is required, it is critical to be on the ground.
  • A smaller number of exporters establish representative offices, due to the high costs involved, these companies usually have needs that cannot be met by agents or distributors. Such as businesses that need a high degree of control over their products and after-sales service or have commercially sensitive intellectual property.
  • One option that is increasingly popular is the establishment of a joint-venture partnership with a local company. One attraction of this method is that costs and risk are shared by the partners, with the Indian partner bringing to the venture local market knowledge, know-how and business experience.

Austrade strongly recommends that exporters obtain professional legal and accounting advice before conducting any business in India. Austrade can provide referrals to service professionals.

Tariffs and duty rates are revised and subject to change, Austrade strongly recommends you to reconfirm these prior to considering selling to India.

The main regulatory body in India is the Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

In India, the drug manufacturers and exporters not only need to adhere to the standards imposed by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) but also standards set by the Drug Regulators of the countries to which the product is being exported. This is a bureaucratic and drawn out process, and the length of time it takes depends upon the classification of the product.

Find out more information on the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation website and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare website. 

Key Healthcare events in India
Bangalore Bio
Bio Asia
India Medical Devices

Links and industry contacts

All India Biotech Association (AIBA)
Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE)
Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association
Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association
Indian Medical Association
The Indian Pharmaceutical Association
Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.

Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.