Ministry calls for meeting to resolve issue over banning imports of refurbished medical devices

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Updated: September 06, 2016 3:42 PM

Announces government-industry task force for pharma and medical devices

Announces government-industry task force for pharma and medical devices

A meeting of the medical technology manufacturers would be held with Ministers of Health, Environment and Forest and Finance in the next 15 days to resolve the issue relating to banning imports of refurbished medical devices with extended warranty. This information was provided by Ananth Kumar, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers & Parliamentary Affairs.

Kumar was speaking at the inaugural of the 9th Medical Technology Conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi. A recent notification issued by the government has banned the import of medical technologies more than three years old, causing widespread concern among the industry.

The minister stressed that Indian medical devices industry should work towards catering to not only 1.2 billion population in India but also over 4 billion people in Asia and Africa, who have the same health profiles and challenges. “People in Asia and Africa regions look forward to affordable and easily accessible medical devices to cater to their demanding health needs, which can be supplied from India,” he said.

He underscored that the government has taken many proactive decisions to boost the medical equipment industry. Total production of medical equipment during the last two and half years has crossed $2 billion.

The Minister said that introduction of GST could bring down the prices of medical equipment by 12 per cent. He urged the industry to take a consensus approach on the regulatory mechanism needed for the sector and to create a mission mode approach to development of the medical devices segment.

Kumar concurred with the idea to have a separate ministry for pharmaceuticals and medical devices to give a critical push to this segment. The ministry will set up an industry-government task force for accelerated growth of the medical devices industry in India.

“What we need is research and development, innovation and greater stress on hardware industry to move up in the value chain,” he added.

Regarding development of medical device infrastructure in the country, he said that medical devices parks coming up in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, would be game changers and wanted other states to follow that model.

Himanshu Baid, Chairman, CII Medical Technology Division, mentioned that the NDA Government has taken various proactive steps for boosting the medical equipment industry by including it in the Make in India Program, allowing 100 per cent FDI, streamlining the import duty structure and implementing the cluster approach for mass scale medical device production. However, there are concerns such as delay in setting up the regulatory body for medical devices, unwarranted regulations, such as ban of plastic bags in blood banks etc. which should be resolved.

Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, CII Healthcare Council, stressed the need for a holistic approach to healthcare in India where traditional knowledge is combined with allopathy and technology. He said that technology should help accessibility to health delivery systems at minimal cost.

Pavan Choudary, Co-chairman, CII Medical Technology Division, underscored the need for judicious combination of human expertise, hospital infrastructure and technology for ensuring medical health at affordable cost.

Sidhartha Nigam, Partner, Grant Thornton Advisory, highlighted the huge technical gap in the medical device segment.

EH News Bureau

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