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Experts Debate On Quality Vs Cost In Diagnostics Industry And Kind Of Regulation Needed

A panel discussion on ‘Quality vs cost in the diagnostics tests and services and the regulation needed, therefore’ was held at 1st BW Diagnostics Summit, in New Delhi.

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“Government can never find out what is the right price for the tests. We are a development market. We look at each other discount rates and decide based on that”, said Dr. A Velumani, Chairman, Thyrocare, when asked whether the government should cap the price of the diagnostics or the people should pay for the quality. He pointed out that India is cheapest in healthcare.

First Diagnostics Summit 2019 is organized by Business World at New Delhi on Thursday. At the event, a panel discussion was organized on the ‘Quality vs cost in the diagnostics industry and the needed regulation’. Eminent dignitaries participating in the discussion were Dr. Ravi P Singh, Secretary-General, Quality Council of India; Dr. Vandana Jain, Director, and Head, Accreditation, NABL; Dr. Somnath Chatterjee, Director, Suraksha Diagnostics; and Dr. A Velumani, Chairman, Thyrocare. The event was moderated by the Managing Director of Quadria Capital, Sunil Thakur. 

On the current scenario of the diagnostics industry, Vandana stated, “The laboratories in the present are driven by quality”. “Wherever the labs have more volumes, their costs are high”. Looking further into the future of diagnostics industry, she said that the future belongs to those who can do specialization tests. The cost of routine tests is already going down, she added. 

To the challenge of reducing the price while maintaining the quality, Chatterjee said that Quality will always have a price. He emphasized, “The quality is not just about the tests but also about the services provided”. “The quality is thus a philosophy – how we treat the patients”, added Chatterjee. 

Giving a wider view on the discussion on quality regulation, Singh said that it’s on the customers unless customers won’t go and ask for NABH and NABC approved tests, things won’t change. Turning the discussion to quality regulation, Singh said, “the only inhibitor for fixing the cost is setting the benchmark, on what bench-mark should that be set”. 

Vandana, on what is needed in the diagnostics, said, “We need to escalate our marketing strategy so that people are aware of the quality tests and service”. An important point Velumani stated that some of the unorganized players are pricing higher than the credited players. This issue can again be mitigated with an awareness of quality among people, he added.