• million

The number of diabetics in India

Rs 5,000 cr

The size of India’s diabetes care market

20% The annual growth rate of the Indian diabetes market

  • million

The number of pre-diabetics in the country

Rs 18,000 cr

The annual cost of diabetes care in the country

Rs 10,000

The average annual spend per patient in urban areas

Rs 6,260

The average annual spend per patient in rural areas

101 million

The projected diabetic population in India by 2030

per cent market share), Abbott has the largest share in the country’s adult nutrition market.

The new glucose monitoring sys­tem is ideal for patients in India, say specialists. “In developed countries, blood sugar tests are done once or twice daily for diabetes patients, but in India it is done once or twice a week, which is a matter of concern since regular monitoring is key to managing the disease, says Abhilash K. Chandran, a diabetologist based in Kerala.

Besides, regular monitoring of dia­betes in patients in India is necessary because of the alarmingly short time it takes to transition from a border­line case to a full-fledged diabetic. While this transition time is at least
10 years in developed countries, it’s just two years here, says Chandran.

“Our two-year-long market survey helped us customise the system (pro­fessional or ‘doctor-read’) and its price,” says Dilip Rajan, general man­ager, Abbott Diabetes Care India.

But the cost of the device would be a challenge for the company in semi- urban and rural markets. “I would still prefer the cost of this wearable glucose monitor to be lower to make it accessible to the masses, as patients who need it more frequently will find it unaffordable,” says Chandran.

Trailing Competition

Abbott Diabetes Care has been pre­sent in India since 2006. The com­pany, which sells a range of glucose
monitoring and diabetes care prod­ucts in the country, has a 15 per cent share in the $100-million local mar­ket and wants to double it in the next few years.

Global rivals Johnson & John­son’s and Roche Diagnostics are currently ahead of Abbott in terms of market share in this segment. Their easy-to-use glucose monitors, Onetouch and Accu-Chek, respec­tively, have had reasonable success in the Indian market. Although these products helped patients in tracking their glucose levels on their own, the need for frequent inter­vention and the finger prick re­mained key constraints.

Abbott Diabetes Care, the global diabetes care technology division of Abbott Lab, currently contributes nearly $1.2 billion to the group’s $21 billion worldwide revenues. Accord­ing to Bates, the aim is to develop In­dia as a key market for Abbott.

“The country has the second larg­est diabetic population in the world after China, but the blood sugar test devices market is still tiny. So, there is a tremendous scope for growth,” says Rajan of Abbott Diabetes Care India.

Industry research reports estimate that the diabetes care devices market in India, which is growing at a com­pound annual rate of 10 per cent, will soon touch $290 million by 2018. While in China, it is already over $800 million and predicted to cross $1.16 billion in the next three years.

As a report by the International Diabetes Federation cautions, “The country’s diabetes burden is expected to cross the 100 million mark as against the earlier estimated 87 mil­lion by 2030 if action is not taken to manage the disease more efficiently.” Well, that’s the bitter truth.

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