The Indian pharmaceuticals market is expected to be valued at over around $55 billion by 2020, increasing from $36.7 billion in 2016. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 16%, with medical tourism slated to be the major growth driver, according to a joint study by industry body ASSOCHAM and Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM).

The year 2015 saw 140% growth in the arrival of foreign tourists on medical visa as compared to 2013, where more than 50,000 people visited India on medical visa. This number rose to about 1, 34,000 in 2015.

The number of foreign tourist arrivals on a medical attendant visa doubled from 2013 to 2015, increasing from around 42,000 to more than 99,000. The study revealed that in the first six months of 2016 alone, close to 100,000 foreign tourists arrived on a medical visa, making it a very lucrative market.

Most of the patients coming to India for treatment are from West Asia, Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka due to its expertise in cardiac and orthopaedic procedures, in addition to other specialised areas like neuro-surgeries, cancer treatment and organ transplantation.

India is also attracting medical tourists looking for the traditional system of medicine available in the country, the study said.