Health Startups Cry Foul Over Tender
While the country is prepping hard for the launch of the ‘Startup India’ movement by prime minister Modi on Saturday, most healthcare startups are suffering teething problems; that of selling their products to the government sector. Medical technology startups are struggling to scale up, especially with regard to tapping into the government hospitals market, because of the rigid tendering processes in place. Major challenges at the entry point for these startups include guidelines such as a minimum of three years’ industry experience, no single-bidder policy and tenders not being time-bound.
For instance, last week, the state government invited open tenders for the proposal of screening of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in four zones of Karnataka under the national health mission (NHM).
But qualifications that were set for the project are something that no ophthalmology startup can achieve, according to those in the know.
Dr Shyam Vasudeva Rao, managing director of Forus Health Private Ltd, a healthcare startup dealing with ophthalmology treatment, told Bangalore Mirror, “The tender clearly states that only startups with three years of experience can apply. The tendering process is completely different from the ROP tendering process practised in Rajasthan. Moreover, there is no clarity on where the funding for this project will come from. There is no communication between the different states of the country, which could bring about some sort of standardisation in the tender process. This happens every year, which is why startups find it hard to penetrate the public health domain.”
- Health Care