Mumbai: Harvard trained and internationally acclaimed Indian American Cardiac Surgeon and Healthcare Economist Dr Mukesh Hariawala was recently conferred the prestigious ‘Indian Healthcare Visionary of the Decade’ award at a glittering ceremony of the 4th Annual Business Leadership Conclave at Hotel Leela in Mumbai.

Also felicitated with other prestigious awards were industrialists Ratan Tata , Transformational Leader of the Decade and Mukesh Ambani  who is the Millennium Business Leader of the Decade.

Dr Hariawala delivered a spirited keynote lecture to a packed audience where he convincingly laid out a 100 Billion Dollar Medical Tourism opportunity for India as a byproduct of US President Barack Obama's new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which unofficially is also termed ‘Obamacare’.

This new law signed in 2010 would change the ecosystem in the US, moving gradually from the existing capitalistic high quality healthcare with no Waiting Periods to a socialized government controlled form of healthcare as prevalent in the UK and Canada.

Elaborating in his keynote address, it is this new system in the US that will see the birth of long waiting periods for medical procedures that will compel millions of impatient Americans to seek elective surgical procedures outside the US for around 10% of the cost, and India could be the most sought after global destination.

Praising India for its healthcare talent of skilled doctors, nurses and infrastructure, he emphasized that marketing of services and lobbying with US insurance companies could be crucial in securing a firm conduit that would maintain flow of patients consistently.

The business beneficiaries of medical tourism would not be restricted to healthcare industry only but would also spur large scale high revenues for hospitality, travel, lodging, food, tourism, banking, shopping sectors, wellness and complementary medicine clinics and related services.

Dr Hariawala averred that the billions of dollars of revenues coupled with soft government policies should encourage developers to build modern hospitals in the peripheries of major metropolitan cities, which would give large scale employment to semi skilled rural workers and accelerate the pace of  urbanisation of Rural India.
This growth trajectory would speed up internal productivity raising GDP close to the earlier projected 8% and dropping the national BPL.

Unveiling a unique and novel customized universal health insurance model for all 1.2 billion Indians calling it ‘Womb to Tomb’, this concept was greeted with positive responses from the business leadership community particularly, as it would not only cover all Indians but also bring in FDI investment funds from US insurance giants who could establish partnership models with current Indian health insurance companies.

In his closing remarks, Dr Hariawala encouraged the pharmaceutical industry to embark on an aggressive public relation campaign to counterbalance the adverse and negative publicity following the Ranbaxy debacle, where heavy fines were levied by the FDA.

The next big opportunity for the Indian pharma industry may be just round the corner, with the new Obamacare Bill likely to increase importation of large volume of low cost branded generic drugs to reduce trillions of dollars of healthcare burden on the recession hit US exchequer, he concluded.


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