A group of five young nephrologists from Mumbai met on the sides during the Western Zone – Indian Society of Nephrology Conference at Nagpur, India in 2003. Having returned from Canada and Australia, they knew that a lot needs to be done in the dialysis sector in the city of Mumbai. The thought of starting a state of the art stand-alone dialysis centre took birth.
There were a lot of hurdles. Whether all their mind sets match was the main issue. To get to know this and also to map the path, all met consistently once a week for 4 years. To start a dialysis unit in Mumbai seemed impossible with the very high real estate costs. Considering the cost of the machinery and the running costs, quality dialysis per se is not a profit making venture even if real estate costs are not factored. At this crucial juncture, a true philanthropist, Mr Rupen Kothari offered help. His sole interest was to help the dialysis patients. He offered all possible financial assistance. He believed in the capability of the five nephrologists. Apex owes everything to this gentleman. The initial two centres came up in Mulund and Malad suburbs of Mumbai. Thus Apex Kidney Care was born in 2007 and the first dialysis was done on 15th August 2008. Apex was blessed with an excellent team of executives right form its inception
The response was great. Patients flocked to these two centres. Noticing the success of this model, a large number of corporates and private equities started showing interest in the dialysis sector. Many new companies came up after 2008. In 2010 a large US based private equity firm approached Apex with a proposal of expansion. They wanted to infuse 100 crores in a phased manner. Entry of private equity would mean focus on profits which would mean escalation of the cost of dialysis. Apex refused to go with them as the patient’s well-being was of prime importance and not just profits.
This interaction with business leaders made the Team Apex aware of the potential and the initial noticeable success. Apex decided to expand. Soon a new centre came up at Mira Road and then Chembur and then there was a ‘chain’ of centres. At this juncture another philanthropist Mr Hitesh Mehta joined the group along with his great ideas, managerial skills and vigour. He infused Team Apex with great enthusiasm and desire to succeed along with the much needed funds. While expanding all what was in mind was the patient’s well-being.
Also noteworthy is the support of the nephrologists who joined the core group. They knew the core team well and were convinced that at Apex it was the patient’s interest that was of utmost importance. They joined the core team without any expectation of monetary gains. To begin with each one of them had a large existing practice in their respective cities. They decided to spare their time to help Apex grow. Apex values this contribution they have made to the development. Without them it would have indeed been impossible.
Apex now has more than 149 dialysis centres across 8 states, all providing excellent quality dialysis at a reasonable cost. Its patients are supported by Apex Kidney Foundation which is its charitable arm.
Apex aims to continue expansion in areas where dialysis services are not available at present while remembering the main aim of being patient friendly all along.