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Stent procedures, knee replacements take a heavy COVID blow

The medical device industry has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic. There has been an 85 percent decline in the use of stents, implants and optical devices from April to June.

The industry has seen a major drop in the use of stents as elective procedures are not being carried out. Most of the management of heart blockages has been been through medicines.

Meanwhile, there has been an increase in heart attacks and sudden deaths.

A senior cardiologist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “We have no data on people who have died due to non-Covid reasons during this pandemic. Only the emergency room profile shows that there have been many patients who have come to hospital too late and died or were brought dead. During the lockdown most treatments were by using medicines while post-lockdown, there have been a few surgeries.”

Similarly, orthopedic implants have seen a 90 per cent dip as patients are not coming forward for knee replacements, which is an elective procedure and has come to a halt. Only emergency orthopedic treatments are being carried out.

The worst hit industry is the optical sector, which has seen its lowest phase during the lockdown. Many ophthalmologists state that they have absolutely no work as people could not come forward due to the risk of infection.

In the optical sector, the biggest problem was in transporting goods from the manufacturing unit to the retailer. With states having lockdown specifications of varying kinds, transporting had become a major challenge to the industry.

A senior government ophthalmologist said, “We can only take up emergency cases and even those are few. Till there is a decline in Covid infection rate, there will not be much scope for elective surgeries.”

Pavan Choudary, chairman and director general of Medical Technology Association of India said, “The medical device industry is facing a challenge and only government intervention can bail it out of the situation. The cost of freight movement has increased by almost seven times. Health cess on imported products is adding to the woes.” – Deccan Chronicle