India’s Rainbow Medicare taps growing demand from international patients

By Rishika Sadam

HYDERABAD (Reuters) – India’s Rainbow Children’s Medicare will expand its services for international patients at its hospitals in an attempt to triple the revenue from that business this year, a top executive said.

The Hyderabad-based pediatric hospital chain plans to add 1,000 beds over the next five years to its 1,655 beds across hospitals in six cities and step up facilities that support complex surgical procedures.

The company, which reported an annual revenue of 11.74 billion rupees ($141.33 million), expects the international patient segment to contribute 3% of total revenue in fiscal 2024 compared with 1% last year, and aims to grow that to 10% over five years.

Data analysis firm Research and Markets estimates the medical tourism market in India reaching 2.67 trillion rupees by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate of 34.92% between 2023-2027.

“We’ve started attending to international patients only post the pandemic,” Rainbow’s Chairman and Managing Director Ramesh Kancharla said in an interview on Tuesday. “We’ve been focusing on quaternary care with liver, kidney, bone marrow transplants and that became the opportunity to go international.”

The hospital chain, which serves patients from Bangladesh, Africa and Bahrain in addition to Indian clients, said 22,239 foreign patients used its services last year and 70% of those consultations were in person.

“They (India’s neighbouring countries) are two decades behind us in healthcare. There is no other emerging market which can cater to Africa, Uzbekistan or so. They cannot travel to Europe or Singapore or even the U.S. as that is expensive, so the option is India for these countries,” Kancharla said.

Rainbow, which competes with Apollo Hospitals’ pediatric chain ‘Apollo Cradle,’ is also building a 400-bed hospital in Delhi’s National Capital Region (NCR) and plans to “benchmark it as an international hospital”.

The company went public in May 2022.

($1 = 83.0672 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Rishika Sadam; Editing by Dhanya Skariachan, Sonia Cheema and Janane Venkatraman)