Conference Report 933

Medical Equipment & Devices: Building Capacity under Make in India

Experts deliberate on ‘Medical Equipment & Devices: Building Capacity under Make in India’ during HLF-New Delhi.

Anjan Bose
Secretary-General ,
Healthcare Federation of India (NATHEALTH)

“The moment inclusive healthcare is mentioned to me the following things come to my mind: universal health coverage, health for all, affordable, accessible and available across the country. India is a very diverse country. We have vast differences like European Union has from Yugoslavia to England and North Finland to South Italy. So, inclusivity is a tall order. Among the few prerequisites for Make in India include investment, innovation, skill and infrastructure.”

Rajiv Nath
Forum Coordinator, AIMED and Joint Managing Director, Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices

“Make in India is very interesting for medical devices because we don’t make most of devices in India. We import 70 per cent of the devices. Last year, the import bill was Rs 75,500 crore and electronics constituted 90 per cent of it. It is going up every year by Rs 2,500 crore or more. Even in percentage, it is not a falling figure and going up. So, definitely something is lacking in the ecosystem or policy framework, which is allowing this to happen. We want to make in India, but we need to look at why it is not being done. Is it the issue of competency, or competitiveness, or is it about the lack of capacity?

Sometimes competitiveness can be created in very adverse environment and 700-800 odd manufacturers you find, who are making in India, are the ones who had the competency and the competitiveness to survive in a very adverse environment. They have to compete against imports coming in at a 0-7.5 per cent custom duty as compared to the automotive sector, which has 150 per cent to 200 per cent duty, or even bicycles at 20 per cent duty. So, anywhere there is a duty protection, it has definitely helped the industry.”

Amit Bhatnagar
Managing Director, Accuster Technologies Pvt Ltd

“Besides ‘Make in India’, it has to be ‘Make for India’ also. Not just from the market perspective but also from the design perspective. We need to design and build the medical devices according to India’s challenges and context. Challenges are different from other countries because they are not only environmental but also cultural and economical.

We need to find out holistic answers, which try to meet the challenges of Indian market. We need to design products that are made for India and make in India. The challenge that I picked up is that 90 per cent of Indians are not getting quality diagnostics. I took four months to find out the reason behind it. The reason was very simple. The technology we are trying to bring in is not designed for Indian challenges. Delicate technology products are not fit to be transported to a remote location as there are challenges of availability of power and skilled manpower. Keeping all these challenges, we developed our own products. We developed a 600 gm analyser compared to 7-8 kg of heavy and delicate equipment. Further, we miniaturised the whole lab in a suitcase. We made such equipment that work from 2 degree Celsius to 50 degree Celsius, which consumes one-twentieth of the electricity of what conventional lab does.”

Dr Jitendar Sharma
Director and CEO, Andhra Pradesh Medtech Zone

“Because of the positivity that our sector carries, we have not encountered any challenge that cannot be resolved. That is essentially because of the partners that we have. Andhra Pradesh is the only state in India that has achieved universal health coverage. We achieved it because of our focus on both poor as well as nonpoor population. Many states in India have schemes for the poor who are given some sort of coverage in both public and private hospitals. But the essential challenge for us was how to give healthcare coverage to non-poor.

We launched a scheme on January 1 called Aarogya Raksha. Under this scheme, any person can pay Rs 100 per son irrespective of any secondary illness they have. Each individual can get Rs 2 lakh coverage per annum and is eligible for getting treatment in an air-conditioned semi-private ward in all government hospitals and almost 460 private hospitals. This was something which could not have been achieved without private sector engagement.

Before the scheme was launched, we fixed up the reimbursement prices by agreeing to keep increasing it annually in accordance with the Consumer Inflation Index. So, if you sort out such business and transactional bottlenecks it is possible to get the existing private sector on board, cover poor — which traditionally all governments have been doing — and also cover non-poor. To cover non-poor, by taking just Rs 100 premium per individual per month, we are spending less than what we are earning even as a government.”

Chander Shekhar Sibal
Executive Vice-President,
Fujifilm India

“Fujifilm has survived because of innovation in crisis. We have adopted the changes; we brought new technologies and diversified ourselves into many businesses. Our 70-80 per cent business was in camera roll, which became obsolete after digital camera entered the market. But Fujifilm survived and thrived because we were present in many different fields like entering into medical equipment business — one of the very important steps that the company had taken at that point in time. We are still making X-ray films, the analogue films and digital films and computer radiology systems. Healthcare IT is our backbone.

As far as medical equipment industry is concerned, India has become a very importfriendly country whereas manufacturing medical equipment is full of red-tapism, thus not allowing anybody to manufacture here.”

 

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