Budget 2020 encouraging for MedTech industry, to boost manufacturing: AIMED

As per Mr Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator of Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD), the budget is a visionary and well thought out one tailored for promoting Make in India of medical devices and addressing Indian National Healthcare security concerns

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New Delhi: The Indian medical devices industry has responded positively to the union Budget 2020.

Hailing the budget, Mr Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator of Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) mentioned, “Finally we may have something to help address over Rs 38,837 crore, 80-90 percent import-dependent Indian medical devices sector. It is an excellent idea to tax imports of medical devices to fund the capacity building of healthcare delivery in public healthcare and with twin advantage of accelerating medical devices manufacturing as a Make in India enabler so that Indian National Healthcare security concerns are addressed – the inadequacy of which is being exposed in ongoing crisis to address the Coronavirus epidemic preparedness.”

He added further: “We look forward to reading the fine print but unless the import tax is 10-15% up from current 0-7.5 percent it may not be that impactful as a Make in India enabler. If the custom duty cess is 5 percent that’s great!”

The other listed expectations of Indian Medical Devices Industry included:

1) A regulatory framework for all medical devices

2) Curbing MRP and Trade margins over imports

3) Curbing imports of pre-owned medical equipment in the absence of regulations

4) Preferential pricing for quality products in public healthcare.

The Finance Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman sharing a holistic vision of healthcare allocated Rs 69,000 crore, inclusive of Rs 6,400 crore for Jan Arogya Yojana, to healthcare in Budget 2020. This marks an increase from last year when she allocated Rs 62,659 crore. This is in line with what healthcare experts have asked for in terms of increased allocation to the sector. The government has aimed at spending target of 2.5 percent of GDP till 2025.

There are 20,000 empanelled hospitals in Ayushman Bharat and need more in Tier 2 and 3 cities to benefit the poor in these areas. The public-private partnership (PPP) mode hospitals will be set up under viability gap funding to look at areas where there are no hospitals. This will be 112 aspirational districts where first priority will be given.

Finance Minister, Ms Sitharaman also announced that proceeds from taxes on medical devices will be used for this vital health infrastructure in these districts. She also announced a new campaign to eradicate TB. ‘TB Harega, Desh Jeetega’ campaign will be strengthened to end TB by 2025 in the country. The budget also aims to boost domestic medical device manufacturing. Mission Indradhanush has been extended to cover new diseases and new vaccines. Fit India is part of it, she said.

Mr Nath called it a visionary and well thought out budget tailored for promoting Make in India of medical devices and addressing Indian National Healthcare security concerns – the inadequacy of which is being exposed in ongoing crisis to address the Coronavirus epidemic preparedness.”

“Rest we will be able to comment on after going through the fine prints. The Indian medical device industry is very hopeful that the fine prints of the Union Budget will have much more in store for the Indian medical devices industry to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for common masses, enable placing India among the Top 5 medical devices manufacturing hubs worldwide and help end the 80-90 percent import dependence forced upon us and an ever-increasing import bill of over Rs 38,837 crore,” concluded Mr Nath.