"Our priority is access as a company"

Namal Nawana, CEO of US-based diagnostic firm, the $2.6-billion (2014 revenues) Alere, talks to Joe C. Mathew about the role of technology in making medical products affordable.
By Joe C. Mathew   Delhi     Print Edition: September 11, 2016
Namal Nawana, CEO, Alere (Photo: Shekhar Ghosh)

How do you see India's decision to regulate the prices of stents?

I think governments need to do what is required to make their healthcare systems work. Stents are fabulous technologies. And if you don't allow these kinds of technologies, you will not see innovation and improvement, and access to medical devices. This is specific to stents. But we have seen price pressure in diagnostic devices for many, many years in several countries. I have the view that we have to demonstrate the value, and I don't think the value is understood well enough by the governments.

How should companies tackle this problem?

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet, otherwise we would have done that already. Our priority is access as a company. We want people to have access to the technology. So we are trying to develop our business, and we have a very loud and clear pricing strategy. The manufacturing facility in Manesar will help us create more access because we can provide our products at lower cost. Take the case of malaria. We believe we want to be part of the solution to eradicate malaria. Which means we need to develop very high technology at extremely low cost.

How do you see the pace of innovation in the medical device space?

There is convergence of technology in the world. And, particularly, the digital world converging with all other aspects of medical technology. This allows for new solutions that couldn't be previously envisaged. In diagnostics we see people have better understanding how to drive the performance of diagnostic testing. Even at the point of care. And it is changing the clinical outcome. ~

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