NEW DELHI: To promote local manufacturing of high end medical devices and attract investment in the sector, the government has set up a National Medical Devices Promotion Council which is scheduled to hold its first meeting on January 14, sources said.
The Council, headed by secretary to the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), will discuss policy interventions to support domestic manufacturing, reduce dependence on imports to meet local demand and boost exports, sources said.
The agenda of the meeting also includes deliberations on creating a “predictable and staged regulatory structure” for medical devices, enabling an environment to receive representations and grievances from the industry, discussion on trade margin rationalization and tariff protection for devices.
“The idea is to have a platform that can address issues from all stakeholders with a holistic approach. Today India is the pharmacy of the world supplying low priced quality generic drugs globally, the medical device industry has similar potential and the government’s intention is to support the industry in order to promote India as manufacturing hub for low priced quality products,” an official said.
The mandate of the Council is to device and suggest policy interventions to promote local manufacturing of quality medical devices so that India can reduce its imports from other countries while also generating revenue from exports.
While the market for medical devices is growing rapidly in the country with increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and hospitalization cases, India is hugely dependent on imports for sourcing medical devices, particularly the complex and high-end ones.
Around 70-80% of the medical device used in India are imported products. The medical device imports have jumped 24% to Rs 38,837 crore in FY19, according to the latest export-import data. While US is the largest exporter of medical devices to India, constituting one-fifth of the total, Germany, China, Singapore and the Netherlands are among other major suppliers.
“We are also hopeful that like Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India, this council will also be successful in spearheading the policy needs to accelerate growth in the medical devices sector,” Rajiv Nath of Association of Indian Medical Device Industry said.
Though the commerce ministry had announced setting up of the Council in December 2018, it took some time for the government to actually form the Council. Apart from DPIIT secretary, there are 27 other members in the Council including NITI Aayog Adviser, senior officials from health ministry, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), MSME, Department of Biotechnology and representations from various stakeholders including industry associations.
Medical devices market in India is estimated at around $7 billion and is projected to grow to $50 billion by 2025.-Times Of India