"The government has reiterated its commitment to ‘Universal Healthcare’ and has announced flagship schemes to provide better healthcare to people at bottom of the pyramid – National Health Policy and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. These schemes will expand the reach of basic healthcare facilities in the country. While access to basic healthcare is an important determinant of Universal Healthcare, another critical factor is quality of healthcare. The latter requires access to advance healthcare technology for best health management of patients. The government should have looked at incentivising import of advance medical devices into the country by bringing down the customs duty.
There is also a need to undo the un-nuanced price control imposed by NPPA as the move is leading to unintended consequences on the healthcare ecosystem without any significant reduction in the cost of patient. The current price control regime has also lead to a drastic fall in foreign direct investment in healthcare sector from USD 417 million in April-September 2017 against USD 173 million in the same period in 2016, a reduction of 59percent.
Under the current ecosystem where more than 70percent of medical devices have to be imported from abroad, a balance approach to reduce cost to patient is trade margin rationalization for distributors, gradation in pricing thereby allowing a higher price bracket for superior medical devices, and lower customs duty. These measures will reduce the cost to patient without dis-incentivizing technical innovation by medical device manufacturers." - Medical Buyer Bureau