Put India to sleep and steal a $3- Billion market

By siliconindia   |    14 Comments
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Put India to sleep and steal a $3- Billion market
New Delhi: Nearly 93 percent of Indians suffer from insomnia, and medical industry is all set to make profit from this wakefulness of Indians.

A stressful, unrelenting day can affect sleep patterns, and lack of sleep can make a person cranky. It is sure that the people will run behind the medical products that offer them sound sleep.

The promise of a sound sleep is creating a huge market for the medical industry in India. Medical technology and pharmaceutical companies are waking up to a potentially $3-billion Indian market for their products and therapies. Action has begun in the last few months with players like Philips Healthcare setting up sleep labs, GSK Consumer Healthcare and Modi Omega Pharma launching anti-snoring products ranging from nasal strips to mint-flavoured throat sprays to aid better sleep, and others are planning to follow suit.

A study by market research firm Nielsen during November-December 2009 found 93 percent of urban Indians are sleep deprived and 62 percent display high risk of obstructive sleep apnea, breathing disorder common among adult diabetics. According to industry estimates, the number of sleep apnea patients in the country could be somewhere between 40 million to 70 million.

The nascent sleep therapy market in India kick-started last year when the $17-billion GE Healthcare brought to the Indian market continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to treat sleep apnea, GE has installed 3,500 units throughout the country, said a company official.

Currently, the country has around 100 sleep labs, which is slated to double once Philips sets up another 100 by the end of this year. "When we compared the magnitude of sleep deficit related disorder here to the number of sleep labs that we had, we were appalled. That is when Philips decided to take the initiative to at least double the number of sleep labs to 200 from the percent 100," Anjan Bose of Philips Healthcare said. Philips has partnered with Delhi-based Medicity, branches of Fortis, R&R and Mumbai-based Hinduja and Seven Hills.

Healthcare and pharma firms are also offering products over the counter. Modi Omega Pharma and Omega Pharma, last week entered the sleep market by launching an anti-snoring spray.

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