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Apollo Aims to Provide Access to High-Quality Healthcare Across India

The firm has greatly expanded its reach to deliver care to previously underserved patients through its network of hospitals, pharmacies, and neighborhood clinics.

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December 2021

Apollo Hospitals’ mission since its founding has been to increase access to high-quality healthcare across India. Having started with one hospital in 1983, the firm now operates about 70 hospitals, 4,100 pharmacies, and 950 neighborhood clinics.1 Even with that vast network, COVID-19 tested the firm’s mission. It quickly mobilized to address the challenge.

A Multi-faceted Response to COVID-19

At the outset of the pandemic, Apollo partnered with state and local governments to make sure it implemented strategies that could help reduce the spread of the virus and effectively care for patients.

Apollo established Project Kavach to train its staff on protocols for treating the virus and to ensure it had enough hospital beds and properly equipped intensive care units to provide the necessary care. Apollo also delivered services to people isolating at home. For patients whose living arrangements did not allow proper isolation in their homes, it partnered with hotel chains to establish quarantine facilities in Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Delhi.
At the peak of the pandemic, Apollo had 5,000 beds dedicated to patients with the virus. In the second quarter of 2021, its hospital inpatient services treated 23,500 people with COVID-19. Over the same period, its home-care division treated an additional 20,500 COVID-19 patients, and another 24,000 patients received care at the hotel isolation program Apollo established.2

Along with these efforts, Apollo embarked on India’s largest private vaccination program, taking advantage of its pan-India network of 19 medicine-supply hubs that could provide the proper refrigeration facilities for vaccines. To date, the firm has administered nearly 4 million vaccinations through its hospitals and clinics, as well as more than 500 corporate health care centers.3

Apollo’s diagnostic labs were authorized to conduct COVID-19 testing, and doctors in its network were trained to provide telehealth services on a wide scale, greatly expanding Apollo’s reach during the pandemic. Anyone seeking a consultation can call a 24-hour helpline to speak with an Apollo-certified doctor. Project Kavach also included preventive measures to help educate the public on COVID-19. For example, an online resource enables people to self-assess their risk of getting the virus.

Making Care Accessible

The pandemic demonstrated Apollo’s continuing commitment to making quality care accessible and affordable. Its facilities offer a full range of rooms from shared rooms to private and deluxe rooms. Doctors, nurses, and the entire staff strive to provide the same level of care, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.

Some people must pay for care out of pocket because they don’t have private insurance, or their incomes aren’t low enough to qualify for the government’s health insurance plan. To serve these patients, Apollo works with financial institutions to provide low-cost and zero percent interest financing for nearly 200 elective and non-elective procedures.

The firm’s 956 neighborhood clinics also extend the reach of the health care Apollo can deliver in a less costly setting and in remote and rural areas where access to a hospital may be more difficult.

Apollo Telehealth App Democratizes a Broad Range of Services

The firm established Apollo 24/7, a telemedicine app that has become one of India’s largest healthcare platforms, thanks to the backing of Apollo’s hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics. With the app, patients can have a telehealth consultation with an Apollo doctor on any medical issue. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, this service provided 20,000 virtual consultations per day, most of which were free.4

Through Apollo 24/7, people can also get around-the-clock access to Apollo’s 4,100 brick-and-mortar pharmacies, enabling them to order over-the-counter medicines and request delivery of any prescriptions and medicines they need. Patients can use the app to book vaccination appointments, obtain access to their electronic health records and diagnostic test results, and participate in wellness programs. This service has dramatically expanded care access for the many patients outside India’s large metropolitan areas. Given its ability to access all of a patient’s medical records, 24/7 also integrates data from a patient’s online visits with offline hospital care, allowing a patient to seamlessly transition between seeing a doctor on the app and in person.

Comprehensive Care for an Entire Village

With its innovative Total Health pilot program, created in 2013 to combat the increasing risk of noncommunicable diseases, Apollo provides holistic care—from birth to death—for all the residents of a village in Andhra Pradesh. This program benefits 100,000 people.

Apollo Hospitals is working to deliver quality healthcare on par with that of developed countries, but at emerging market prices. Many procedures cost a fraction of what they would in developed countries, making Apollo confident that India could become the global capital of medical tourism.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sands Capital six investment criteria help identify businesses that are innovators or vital facilitators of change in industries undergoing significant transformation. Apollo Hospitals is one of many portfolio businesses that create impact by addressing at least one major social or environmental challenge identified by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs to which Apollo contributes with the efforts described here include SDG 3, Good Health and Well Being, and SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities.

1, 2, 3, 4 Apollo Hospitals’ 2020 Sustainability Report and its financial report and earnings call (held August 13) for the quarter ended June 30, 2021.

Disclosures:

The business profiled was selected based on its reported alignment with one or more U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. The views expressed are the opinion of Sands Capital Management and are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendations, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The views expressed were current as of the date indicated and are subject to change. This material may contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to uncertainty and contingencies outside Sands Capital’s control. Readers should not place undue reliance upon these forward-looking statements. There is no guarantee that Sands Capital will meet its stated goals. Past performance is not indicative of future results. A company’s fundamentals or earnings growth is no guarantee that its share price will increase. The specific securities identified and described do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold, or recommended for advisory clients. There is no assurance that any security will continue to be owned by Sands Capital Management. You should not assume that any investment is or will be profitable.

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