India is witnessing an accelerating shift towards the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, having secured third position in congenital malformations and genetic disorders as the commonest causes of mortality in neonates in cities. The ability to identify these non-communicable diseases at an early stage lies within the genetic screening segment. Genetic screening, however, is still in its infancy and there are many challenges that need to be overcome in order to realize its full potential. Till date, we have just been able to understand its basic applications. We are yet to create a demand for the same which can be done when the major limitations faced by the genetic testing market are overcome. At present, a huge percentage of people from the medical background, the public at large and government bodies, all remain largely indifferent as well as skeptical towards the potential of medical genetics. How far this restraint is justified and how far it blocks the growth path for this field of medical sciences needs to be analyzed on a serious note.
Genetic testing market in India was initially limited to very few organizations in the country, which possessed both the expertise and the capability to conduct screening tests with assurance. The horizon is expanding gradually in the field of identifying DNA and might grow into humungous proportions if growth drivers are properly put into place. More and more laboratories with advanced equipment are now mushrooming to handle the increasing demands and provide people with the test results, as quickly as possible.
There has a been a upsurge in the genetic diseases in India with congenital malformations and genetic disorders being the third most common cause of mortality in newborns. Hence there is a need for adequate and effective genetic testing and counselling services. There are multiple reasons for this rise and can be summarized as consanguinity, high birth rate, improved diagnostic facilities, and a lack of expertise in genetic counselling. Till date, only a few Indian clinics can provide advanced cytogenetic, biochemical, prenatal diagnostic services and counselling. The success of genetic testing in India depends on overcoming major challenges that span around this field. Since India is one of the emerging markets and being looked upon by the global players as one of the key niches for growth, it is time that the caveats that might affects its growth are well understood and taken care of.