We have concluded another year with consistent focus on delivering quality diagnostics with the help of our highly trained staff that delivers the best quality in diagnostics in India. India largely remains underserved in terms of reliable testing despite there being an abundance of laboratories all over. During the past year our brand has continued to provide benchmarked services affordably while also adding to the test menu and network reach.
Financial year 2020 will however get remembered for the impact that the CoVID-19 pandemic delivered to our industry. As a well-established national brand Dr. Lal PathLabs was able to swiftly respond to this situation.
At the outset we formed a dedicated task force to address all CoVID-19 related issues operationally and strategically. Steps were taken to ensure availability of reagents and other important supplies so as to maintain uninterrupted service. We also leveraged our digital infrastructure to convey to all patients about zero disruption at our laboratories and collection centres and further increased our home collection in key cities as well as promoted online booking of tests. While doing this we made sure that all our costs were kept in check during these difficult times.
We take pride in sharing that we were one of the first private laboratories in India to have got approval to begin testing for CoVID-19. Thus three laboratories in our network including the National Reference Lab at Delhi the Regional Reference Lab at Kolkata and Central Lab at Indore are rendering this service. We continue to liaise with the concerned State Governments to meet their testing requirements efficiently and as per prescribed norms.
The unorganized sector has struggled in the last few years to keep up pace with organized industry. This has been accentuated by macro developments like GST implementation previously and the pan-India lockdown this year. Given the organised players' ability to build scale the shift in the sector continues to gain momentum. Patients trust a branded player to provide them with the best quality services and the loyalty of our patients to the brand drives us to constantly improve our services.
Public healthcare spending in India remains significantly lower than in many other countries. The Government of India has taken several initiatives to address this. They have allocated Rs 69000 crore to healthcare in the Union Budget FY2020-21 of which Rs 6400 crore were for the Government's flagship the Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB - PMJAY). In addition to that the Finance Minister also announced that the AB-PMJAY scheme would be expanded in the tier-II and III cities by setting up more hospitals under the public-private-partnership (PPP) route. The proceeds from taxes on medical devices would be used for development of hospitals for which the Government would provide viability gap funding.
All these initiatives will reduce the overall healthcare costs for the people as well as improve the accessibility of healthcare services. Additional access to medical services will ultimately translate into higher sampling in the longer run as physicians increasingly support evidence based treatments.
We continue to emphasise patient volumes over test prices. We have built strong economies of scale which have further helped us expand our offerings and network. Our Kolkata Reference lab is scaling up well with the East North East and Central zones in focus. While our primary focus currently remains on penetrating deeper into the markets that we already exist in we continually selectively explore inorganic opportunities in the Western and Southern geographies. Overall we believe that long-term opportunities exist in the diagnostics space.
I would like to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to all our well-wishers associates vendors customers and employees who have been with us for many years and who have contributed to the success of the Company. Finally I would also like to thank all stakeholders for their commitment and continued support in helping us achieve our aim of bringing quality healthcare to the underserved masses of India.
|(Hony) Brig. Dr. Arvind Lai|