NEW DELHI—Genesis Burson-Marsteller has formed a partnership with Medulla Communications, as part of an effort to capitalise on India's growing healthcare market.

The alliance will seek to provide a range of communications solutions to the healthcare sector, which has grown rapidly to account for 8% of India's GDP, and is forecast to reach $280bn by 2020.

Despite the growth, healthcare communications remains an under-developed segment of India's public relations market. Genesis B-M and Medulla are hoping to change that, by providing services that span the regulatory, media, retail and digital requirements.

Healthcare, says Genesis B-M founder and principal Prema Sagar, "was always missing" from her agency's offering. "We found India was not ready for it," she notes. "A lot of the companies were just sending out press releases."

That situation is starting to change, driven by a public desire for more healthcare information and the need for better education. By partnering with Medulla, Sagar is hoping to combine Genesis B-M's communications insight with Medulla's specific skills in medical education, patient communications and medical marketing.

"The market," says Medulla founder and MD Praful Akali, "is evolving really fast," driven by access to information via social media. "At a consumer level or influencer level, the kind of media that consumers are looking at for info on healthcare has changed drastically in the last five years."

Akali also notes that lawsuites and malpractice claims are on the rise, bringing reputation issues to the forefront. "It’s very important that the claims we make are robust and checked medically," he said, adding that CSR and public policy are also important areas of focus.