by The Welthi Bureau | 18 SEP 2017
The healthcare sector rests on four pillars, hospitals, pharmaceutical, health insurance and medical devices and technology of which the last industry is least attended.
Mr Pavan Choudary, director general of Medical Technology Association of India explained, "The medical technology industry is at a nascent stage and it requires policy makers to understand the impact this industry will have on patients life and reduce the cost of healthcare."
In view of recent policy changes in the medical technology space, the industry stressed on the need for the sub-sectoring and sub-categorization of medical devices on the basis of the engineering complexity, for policy and decision clarity.
Import substitution as a focus of policies needs to be replaced with greater efforts directed towards ensuring global competitiveness through export promotion and meeting global quality standards. The recently presented NITI Aayog action agenda recognizes the significance of global companies’ presence for the domestic industry to compete with and grow.
Make in India, a noble initiative, should however be implemented in a phased manner. It must focus on the devices that have the potential to be made locally in the short run, instead of the advanced technologies that require a more enhanced ecosystem and know-how that may take years to develop in the country.
This means that policies must factor in the existing gaps in the domestic manufacturing industry, and promote ease of doing business by way of reduced inter-organizational delays, enhanced startup industrial finance, simplified regulations such as single-window clearance, and greater investment in infrastructure. Mr. Sanjay Bhutani, Director, MTaI asserted, “the industry continues to be largely under- understood and under prioritized.”
Another key recommendation put forth at the Summit was to expand the bed capacity in the country. This is particularly crucial given the rising burden of diseases in the country today and the lack of access to quality healthcare. Many pockets of the country remain underserved, and are calling out for real-time scaling up of solutions to address this demand. The expansion of the healthcare delivery system will automatically provide an impetus for the medical devices market to grow.
Further, for long term advantage, infrastructural development and fiscal incentives are needed to keep the wheels of innovation and R&D rolling. This will simultaneously help achieve the twin objectives of greater patient access as well as the availability of latest and high-quality technology.
“The medtech industry should voluntarily help the government correct the price anomalies in the market. And the government should stay away from price control which can skew the sector and affect healthcare in worse ways,” said Mr. Gautam Chikermane, Vice President, Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
Dr. Shekhar Agarwal, Chief Surgeon, Delhi Institute of Trauma & Orthopaedics, Sant Parmanand Hospital said, “A patient may compromise on the surgeon’s fee and the quality of hospital room, but seldom on the quality of the medical device. Multinational companies have made significant training and capacity building efforts among healthcare workers in the country in the last few decades. Detracting from the progress made in the MedTech space will only set us back by decades.”
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