In an email interview, Chairman and CEO Miles D. White discusses what India means to Abbott with E. Kumar Sharma. Edited excerpts:
India, a priority
Abbott has been in India for over 100 years and is now the largest healthcare products company in the country. We have invested billions of dollars in India over the years. India is a top priority for growth and investment for Abbott. We are aligned to the national agenda, whether it is 'Make in India' or supporting local communities. India presents a tremendous opportunity for a diversified healthcare innovator like Abbott to make a meaningful impact on human health and well-being. As a healthcare leader, it's essential to be a part of India and the extraordinary future it is building.
I came to India in 2009 to understand its healthcare system, levels of service, and what it was like to provide and receive healthcare here. The experience made clear to me how crucial it was for us at Abbott to be part of India's healthcare solution. We could not be a major global force in healthcare without being a major part of India's future. We have secured a significant foothold in the country that provides us an ideal base from which to serve not only India's 1.2 billion people, but also other fast-growing markets throughout the developing world. When economies emerge, improving health is among people's top priorities. India is at that juncture today. India currently spends about 4% of its GDP on healthcare; over the next twenty-five years, that percentage will grow significantly. All of this presents a considerable opportunity for Abbott.
Vision for India
India is at a historic inflection point today, with new thinking and new approaches in every domain of life. I believe the combination of a focus on health from the public sector, and commitment and investment from the private sector, can go a long way toward growing India's healthcare system and increasing people's access to care. When I met with Prime Minister Modi in Washington, DC in September, I was heartened to see that he shared this view. India will continue to be a high priority for Abbott because the country is such a vital frontier for the future. With a development-friendly environment, I see our stake in the health of India only growing over the years to come.