India needs to augment its medical device sector along with pharma
Sachin Manawaria | The Dollar Business The task force constituted by the government to look into difficulties faced by the medical devices sector in India will come out with its recommendation in two months’ time, according to the V.K. Subburaj, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals. Speaking at an event held recently by the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), V.K. Subburaj said that the overall medical equipment industry in India stands at around $5 billion compared to the global size of around $200 billion. There is a need to build a conducive environment and rationalise the tax structure to help India’s medical equipment sector grow, he added. India is considered as a leader at global level in the pharma sector, with exports to over 200 countries, but India lags behind in the medical devices sector India. In fact, more than 90% of the medical devices and equipment are imported into India and only a small quantity of low profile medical device items are manufactured in the country, Subburaj said. Talking about the huge disease burden of India, Subburaj said that more than 30-35% of the global heart diseases are in India and in all other disease its share is more than 25%. Besides there are more than one million cancer patients in India, which is around 10% of the 10 million globally, and in another five years the numbers are expected to grow to 1.5 million despite mainly due to a growing population. The Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AIMED) has suggested for an inter-ministry co-ordination to deal with complex multiple issues and diverse technologies for enabling indigenous manufacturing of medical devices and equipment in India. In a related development, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has today agreed to amend the existing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy in the Pharmaceutical Sector to carve a separate segment for medical devices. The move is expected to reduce imports of medical equipment by India. “Easing of norms for medical devices industry by creating special carve out in the extant FDI policy on pharma sector will encourage FDI inflows in this area,” said the government.
This article was published on December 24, 2014.