Impact of Coronavirus Outbreak on Healthcare Sector
Published On May 27, 2020 5:30 AM By Sakshi Aggarwal
Coronavirus impact on the healthcare sector - With the outbreak of coronavirus and nationwide lockdown in India, the country is facing an unprecedented economic slowdown.
Talking of the healthcare sector in India, FICCI has assessed and analyzed the sector and found that the already strained industry has now started feeling negative about the impact of the pandemic declared coronavirus. The study is titled “COVID-19 impact assessment for the private healthcare sector and key financial measures recommendations for the sector.”
On the basis of the analysis of this report, this article informs you about the impact of coronavirus on the healthcare industry in India.
The private healthcare sector in India has been offering all the support to the government during the coronavirus crisis. Be it preparing isolation beds, deploying equipment, testing support, doctors, or any other support to the people infected with the novel coronavirus, the healthcare sector is doing it all, for which even PM Narendra Modi boosted the morale of the healthcare professionals.
But as much is talked about tourism, hospitality, construction, little is being discussed by the government about distress being faced by the private healthcare workers in India.
Coming to assessment, let’s discuss a few things that come from the study.
1. Will private sector healthcare workers benefit?
Based on the assessment, it is true that the healthcare sector is prepared well in advance for every possibility. But it is also true that the sector is witnessing twin burden-Firstly investing more consumables, manpower, etc. to ensure complete safety in the hospitals and treatment of patients if required. And secondly, a major drop in the number of international patients, test volumes, and elective surgeries.
The sector is facing losses and the situation is expected to stay for around 3-6 months now. Considering the fact that the sector’s cost is around 80% fixed, it might have a severe impact on cash flows.
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One can hope that whenever the government informs about any fiscal stimulus, the healthcare sector will be looked at positively. The crisis has increased the awareness about healthcare which the sector will be benefited from. Also, the pandemic will result in more attention from the government towards the healthcare industry in the future.
2. How is India’s medical devices industry impacted?
Coronavirus has hit the medical devices industry as well. India imports it from China and due to the coronavirus crisis, all the consumables, capital equipment like gloves, Magnetic resonance imaging devices, bandages, syringes, orthopedic implants, are not getting sourced from Chinese factories. Due to the spread of the virus in China, Indian manufacturers are finding it hard to source necessary raw material from there.
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Even when some factories are operating in China, there is still a shortage of raw materials and electronic parts, which is creating a huge impact on profits shared by the Indian companies.
It may also lead to an increase in the prices of medical devices in the near future.
Some of the recommendations to provide urgent financial stimulus to the healthcare sector are as follows:
• Exemptions/indirect tax reliefs/GST exemptions on some medicines, consumables, medical devices for treatment of infected people/waivers/time extension under the EPCG scheme, etc.
• Rebate on commercial rates of power for a specific period of time
• Income tax benefits without penalty for a specific period of time
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