Promotion & regulation should go hand in hand for medical devices, says Ananth Kumar

While the minister of chemicals and fertilizers said that the regulatory mechanisms should be strong, he equally stressed on the necessity to promote medical technology industry to provide affordable health care to the poor

The Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Ananth Kumar addressing at the inauguration of the 9th Medical Technology Conference, in New Delhi on September 02, 2016.

New Delhi: The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Ananth Kumar has said that promotion and regulation should go hand in hand for medical devices sector to provide affordable health care to the poor. Speaking at the 9th Medical Technology Conference in New Delhi on September 09, 2016, Mr Kumar said that regulation is required in the medical devices sector to check profit and money making so as to facilitate providing adequate medical facilities to the poor. He said cardiac stents have already been included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and will soon come under the DPCO. He said National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority will hold consultation with stakeholders before taking further action.

Indian Medical Technology Sector is pegged at about US $ 5.5 billion contributing to about 7 to 8 per cent of the healthcare spent in India. It is placed 20th in the global ranking and 4th in Asia.

The Minister said that the Government is taking several steps to promote the medical devices sector in the country. The inverted duty structure has been set right. Mr Ananth Kumar said GST will further bring down the taxation in the sector by almost 12 per cent. He said that the first Medical Technology Park has already been set up in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh with an investment of Rs 1200 crore. Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana and Maharashtra have also shown interest in setting up such parks and Government of India is ready to support these efforts. He said setting up of these parks can bring down the manufacturing cost by another 30 per cent and make Indian Medical technology sector globally competitive , due to pooling of common facilities, .

Mr Ananth Kumar called upon the medical devices manufacturers to undertake research and innovation, and not confine themselves to reverse engineering or re-engineering. He stressed on customized medical devices for Indian conditions and requirements. He said that industry should strive to be a source for not only Indian requirements but also cater to rest of Asia and Africa. He said the industry’s demand of legislation for medical technology is a good idea but it requires brainstorming.

Mr Kumar said a task force will be set up to discuss various issues with different industry associations. The Minister said that he has been advocating the setting up of a separate Ministry for Pharmaceutical and Medical devices as it is a sunrise industry and growing very fast. He emphasised on 3As – Authenticity (Quality), Availability and Affordability. The Minister said he is willing to take up the issues of refurbished medical equipment and extended warranty with Environment Ministry and Finance Ministry.