Rajul Bhargava was Co-Founder at the Central Laboratory and Director at CHL Group of Hospitals before going to HKUST to increase his knowledge in business fundamentals. As president of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Club, Rajul talks to us about the role of government in healthcare and why there is a positive correlation between personal wealth and personal health.
What were your club’s big initiatives this year?
Our club focused on creating a network with the pharmaceutical and medical device companies in HK and China. We connected with executives from companies such as Emerson, Bayer, Johnson and Johnson, Mindray and Novartis. Hong Kong is dominated by the finance industry and healthcare is small here with companies making HK their sales and marketing hub with manufacturing in China and India. Our club not only connected itself to the companies but also educated the classmates on the industry future and potential. Today we all have internships in healthcare companies and are happy to discover that Hong Kong is a future hub for healthcare companies in APAC.
Who was your most exciting speaker this year?
I cherished all the speakers that came to our campus and I must say I learnt a lot. I believe we learn more from our peers and such speakers who give true insights about the industry and the world. I must highlight the name of Mr. Bob Aylsworth, CIO of Emerson and who brought a bundle of energy and exciting ideas. The first time I met him I was in awe listening to his ideas and interest in students. He and his colleagues educated us on the company plans for the university students with focus in the field of Energy and Healthcare. People like him give chances to young students and assign them projects, which benefits both the parties.
Why did you decide to do an MBA at HKUST?
I am a Biomedical Engineer from Drexel University, Philadelphia. Having worked in a hospital group in central India I knew about the medical device and the hospital industry but lacked knowledge in the business fundamentals, specially finance. HKUST was ranked 6th in the world the year I applied which attracted me. It has a fantastic Economics and Finance department and focuses on Asia stories. HKUST, with its connection to China and a student body from about 30 countries was clearly the best choice in Asia, which is where I want to be all my life.
What new health technologies do you think will make the biggest difference to the human race in the next decade?
Tele-medicine, genetic engineering and Bio-Robotics are the future and will definitely change the face of healthcare industry in the next decade. In countries like China and India where the population is big and there are fewer hospitals (doctors), there is a demand of such upgrades. Tele-medicine and Robotics will enable patient monitoring and diagnostics from far away cities and the need for a doctor to be physically present in front of the patient will simply be less important. These technologies will not only save lives of those people who cannot reach a far away hospital but will also bring down the cost of healthcare. The government will play a big role in the future as well. Spending at least 7% of GDP on healthcare is a must for developing nations and support from government will be a key for these new technologies to expand.
Is public health the responsibility of governments?
Government is partially responsible for public health. In India the best hospitals are privately owned, as the government simply cannot meet the hospital demand for such a large population. Population is the prime factor that affects government decisions. Countries like Italy, France, Australia enjoys government facilities simply because of the small size of the population. The health ministry of a country must encourage private healthcare companies to grow in countries like China and India where there is a need for innovation, development and entrepreneurial development in the public health department.
Is there a positive correlation between personal wealth and good health?
Sadly to say, yes, but it should not be like that. It is the basic human right to access the best hospitals at an affordable rate and regardless of personal wealth, every human must get this right. We hear stories about rich people, politicians, movie stars, and sportsmen travelling abroad for a surgery or a treatment and the poor man dying in the waiting room of a public hospital. Government should work with the private sector companies to establish hospitals, generic drugs, low-cost medical devices and implants for people. I believe every man should be treated equally in a hospital and one day will come when the healthcare scenario will be like this. Doctors are attracted to work in a city where there is a good life for them; private hospital owners establish hospitals in big cities for more revenue. I see a future where government, private hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will work together and utilize technologies like tele-medicine and robotic surgeries to make health treatment simple, pure and affordable to everyone.