ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Medical Devices: Imbalance in Policy Thrust

The draft National Medical Device Policy emphasises "Make in India," and ignores quality and pricing.

The use of and demand for medical devices like cochlear, dental and orthopaedic implants, heart valves, pacemakers, artificial joints, titanium plates for fractures, drug-eluting stents, diagnostic reagents and hospital equipment, among others, has grown phenomenally in India over the past decade. The Indian medical devices industry is estimated to be worth around $3 billion a year and is largely import-driven. The industry has been demanding a policy that will reverse their present status of “traders” into “manufacturers.” Now the Department of Pharmaceuticals of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers has put out the draft National Medical Device Policy-2015 for comments and is also proposing to create the National Medical Device Authority.

The emphasis (and enthusiasm) of the draft policy is on the “Make in India” and the thrust is to reduce India’s dependence on imports. The draft policy has been formulated so as to work towards making India a global hub of production and innovation in medical devices. Towards this, it details the various measures and concessions that the union government is keen to put in place to help indigenous businesses to face competition, access foreign markets and find new business partners abroad. In the fourth largest market for medical devices in the world, the domestic producers have only a 25% share. The local production by an estimated 800 small and medium enterprises is mainly of low-end devices. Will these enterprises be able to handle production of high-end devices at international standards or will the big players move in?

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