Reaching out to the world

People are looking for safer and cost- effective alternatives

Dr Batra's is a leading Indian group that has been promoting homoeopathy for several years. An interview with Dr Akshay Batra, vicechairman and managing director, Dr Batra's group of companies. Excerpts: What are the reasons for the growing popularity of alternative streams of medicine?

The gap between healthcare supply and demand is enormous in India and homeopathy can help bridge this gap. Over the years recognition for homeopathy as a safe, long-term and cost-effective mode of treatment has grown, which has also contributed to an overall increase in the demand for this stream of medicine.

We recently conducted a survey with IMRB, which showed that 59% people have shifted to homeopathy in the last one year, with the major cause for the shift being a lack of desired outcome in other forms of treatment. The same survey also revealed that 78% people feel homeopathic-treatment is safer than allopathy and 77% people feel homeopathy is the best form of treatment in terms of long term benefits.

Do you see this trend gain traction over the coming years?

Yes, people are looking for safer and cost-effective medical alternatives. Also with the government itself being the biggest advocate and backing the science we have seen increased awareness among people. We are seeing more people opting for homeopathy as the first line of treatment.

Are governments, both at the centre and in the states also encouraging systems such as ayurveda and homoeopathy?

Yes setting up of Ayush to create awareness and push the alternative stream of medicines through PPP model has helped the industry immensely. The Ayush ministry has recently launched a programme to integrate ayurveda, homeopathy and unani with the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).

Such programmes will help in prevention and early diagnosis of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke. It also aims to reduce complications and drug-dependency.

Is demand for natural products also increasing?

Yes there has been a noted growth in sales of our products. Indian consumers are shifting their focus towards their personal grooming; they've become choosy about the selection of their products as well. This shift in preferences from the consumers has given a sudden boost to the natural personal care products market in the country, grabbing attention of various existing, upcoming and even international players in the segment.

At Dr Batra's we have a diverse product range of complete hair and skin care and have introduced some innovative products like Hair Vitalizing Serum and Anti-Dandruff Hair Serum. Our biggest USP in this segment is that all our products are safe and natural as they contain special herbs that provide therapeutic benefits without side effects. All our products are developed in-house with our dermatologists and trichologists.

How popular are your products internationally? Could you also tell us about your current operations and plans for the future?

Currently our focus markets for products are India and the UAE and we see immense opportunity in both these markets.

Our current operations include 235 homeopathy clinics in 130 cities spread across India, the UAE and the UK.

After India, we have received an overwhelming response in the UAE and the UK. We currently have four clinics in Dubai, three in London and one in Dhaka and plan to add eight more by March 2017.