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Quest to set up diagnostic labs in India

February 23, 2007 12:54 IST

Quest Diagnostics, one of the leading providers of diagnostic testing, information and services in the United States, is looking to set its footprint in India.

"We are looking to expand in India and are on the verge of opening diagnostic laboratories in the country," Dr Harvey W Kaufman, medical director international, said on Thursday while addressing a luncheon meeting on 'Business Opportunities for Healthcare and medical Tourism in India' at the Indian Consulate in New York.

"It is difficult to be world leaders when you ignore India and we want to be world leaders in diagnostic testing," Kaufman said. He, however, did not say how early the company that conducts personal health testing on almost 145 million patients would launch its India operation.

Quest serves 50 percent of the American hospitals and has set up shop in Mexico, United Kingdom and Ireland. Earlier this month Quest Diagnostics announced the acquisition of HemoCue, a Swedish company specializing in near patient testing in a cash transaction valued at approximately $420 million.

The acquisition, the company said, will allow Quest Diagnostics to enter the growing near patient testing market and leverage HemoCue's international presence to reach new markets around the world.

Kaufman did not elaborate on the company's strategy for entering the Indian market, but he mentioned that Quest would use 'selective acquisitions' to expand value offering.

According to a CII-McKinsey report , the Indian healthcare delivery market will grow from $18.7 billion to $45 billion by 2012 and contribute 8 per cent to the GDP. Medical diagnostics, evidently, will play an important role in the growth.

Kaufman said that one of the key differences in the Indian market is that there is a large out of pocket expenses in healthcare and there is less paperwork unlike in the United States, something, which he called wonderful.

Kaufman said that although he had never been to India he has a perspective about the country. "I look forward to being there and in fact our team is already in the country," he said.

Among those present at the road show organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry along with the Consulate and the ministry of tourism included Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman of CII Healthcare Committee and executive director, Escorts Heart Institute and Research center, New Delhi as well as Sunita Reddy, director finance, Apollo Hospitals Group and co-chairperson, CII Committee on Healthcare. Dr Pervez Ahmed, executive director of Max Healthcare also made a presentation.

Suman Guha Mozumder in New York