March - 2016 - issue > Cover Story

Collateral Medical: Offering World Class Medical Equipments at Never Before Transparent Prices

Anamika Sahu
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Anamika Sahu
A lot can happen over a cup of coffee. Whether it is friendship, relationship, friends' reunion or sowing the seed of starting a dream project, a cup of coffee has witnessed everything. And the case was no different with Nikhilesh Tiwari and Dr. Ashutosh Raghuvanshi (Group CEO & Vice Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya). While working with Johnson & Johnson's Cardiac Surgery Portfolio, Nikhilesh met Dr. Ashutosh who was a practicing Cardiac surgeon then, and became good friends. Later Nikhilesh moved on to head the Women's Health business of Johnson & Johnson that primarily used to service small hospitals, nursing homes and maternity centers, and realized that it was a Herculean task to reach to these centers. It was a meeting with Dr. Ashutosh over a cup of coffee in Kolkata where the idea of Collateral Medical (Colmed) got crystallized to supply reputed medical devices and consumables to doctors in the cities that are untouched yet by the gargantuan medical device distribution system. They were later joined by Sanjay Jha (Director, Colmed).

The Humble Odyssey

Medical devices are crafted with utmost care and supreme technologies, the foremost reason for these devices to be costly. On the other hand, the turmoil lances further as the fresh equipments pass on from the manufacturers to numerous unorganized distributors, taking the cost out of the reach of private doctors and healthcare clinics in tier 2 and 3 cities. This multi-tier distribution system along with supplier-driven market and lack of information creates very significant pricing challenges for buyers. While India is still a developing country that has emerged as one of the most preferred countries for medical tourism, the agony is the price that works as a hindrance for many hospitals, clinics and private doctors (especially small that are in tier 2 & 3 cities) that forces them to drag their decade old medical equipments to use even if it has given up. While the only source of cheap medical equipments is the unregulated import of Chinese products by local traders, the products come with a 'No Guarantee' and 'No Service' tag, making it quite a bitter experience for the buyers.

In India, the medical device market is over $5.5 billion of which 30-40 percent comes from small nursing homes spread nationwide. The demand is growing at around 17 percent per annum. The number of beds added to tier 2 and 3 cities is very high, probably 20 percent per annum. Also, with various specialty clinics and hospitals coming up, the demand will soar without doubt. Nikhilesh realized that there was no easy way to supply medical device across India efficiently. And when he tried to go direct to some of the key customers, it was very beneficial for them. Dr. Ashutosh felt that even large hospitals after signing agreement with medical device manufacturers had to struggle for supplies to their hospitals in various geographies. He found a clear need for a Pan India distributor that can efficiently and seamlessly supply across the country. Sanjay learnt about efficiency brought in by Group Purchase Organizations and large US wide distributors during his long tenure with GE Healthcare US. This coinciding thought process brought them together to create Colmed. Today, the company has completely obliterated the demon that is eating up the healthy ecosystem in India.

Medical professionals and hospital purchase managers can avail benefit from Colmed's platform Colmed.in, which serves through direct mail, industry-specialized support staff, field sales representatives and use of Internet and mobile technologies. Colmed.in is highly used by small hospitals and clinics. The platform is witnessing cent percent year-on-year growth with over 40 percent repeat customers who have become the advocates of the company.

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