Dr Poonam Malakondaiah, Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh, is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ). She shares the key drivers and differentiators for the growth of the AMTZ, location advantage and roadmap of the prestigious project, in an interview with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN)
What are the long-term goals of AMTZ?
We have set three goals for AMTZ, and they are: 1) To build AMTZ as Indian Hub in medical device manufacturing; 2) To make AMTZ as Asian Hub while competing with other esteemed Asian market leaders “ China, Korea, Taiwan, etc; and 3) To reach the prestigious status of Global Hub. Here we will not only have to compete with the Southeast Asian nations but also contend with global markets such as “ Russia, Germany, Italy, France, United States (US), etc. The project therefore looks at volume production, cost reduction and quality benchmarking at methods to attain the goals.
Which are the medical device manufacturing companies expected to be part of AMTZ? How was your experience visiting Shanghai MedTech Zone?
We (a delegation from State Government) visited Shanghai MedTech Zone in China and other medical device manufacturing zones. The visit was a great experience in understanding the operations of MedTech Zones. We will invite all medical device manufacturing companies for setting up their facilities at AMTZ and availing the market benefits. The AMTZ and its ecosystem will help reducing the cost of production of medical devices and will help even small and medium scale companies in medical devices to become global players. In this regard, we are working with the industry apex bodies in attracting the top medical device manufacturers.
What is the USP of AMTZ?
There are three main USPs of AMTZ.
1) It provides for required scientific facilities without any capital cost to the medical device manufacturers. Scientific facilities will run on a user fee model; 2) The zone has good and affordable space; and 3) It has plug-and-play model- ready to use manufacturing facilities. Readymade factory with power and water amenities is part of it. Further, the State Government will assist in all statutory procedures like registration and approvals.
How do you position AMTZ? What are your thoughts for linking medical tourism with AMTZ?
We want AMTZ to be a low-cost medical equipment manufacturing facility without compromising the quality and standards and a facility of global innovation. One of the scientific facilities planned for innovation in the zone is Rapid-Prototyping and medtech innovation centre. These innovative products could aid in holistic services. Medical tourism itself needs a lot of innovation. We are looking at making the experience unique to not just medical tourists, but also to industrial tourists. AMTZ therefore aims to create industrial tourism. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu believes in the creation of holistic healing through Yoga, naturopathy, modern medicine and modern diagnostics. Collectively, AMTZ will contribute greatly to the vision of Andhra Pradesh.
What are the timelines of AMTZ?
| AMTZ “ Key Takeaways
An ecosystem comprising of scientific, cost-effective and affordable manufacturing units and plugand-play models are the three major differentiators of the Andhra Pradesh
What is the estimated cost of AMTZ?
The AMTZ is estimated to be ready by October 15, 2017. The participating companies in AMTZ will need at least 6 to 12 months to set up their assembly units and start operations. Hence, AMTZ would be operational by the beginning of 2018. It is estimated that Rs 400 to 500 crore would be the cost of project establishment, although the total cost of the project needs to be calculated, for which a detailed project report is in the making.
Can you please explain the strategic location of the AMTZ?
The proximity to port is a key factor to the success of medical equipment sector, given that many components are imported and heavy machinery in the form of finished goods are exported. For instance, the location of Shanghai MedTech Zone in China is next to the port. For a country like India where currently a large proportion of the spare parts and equipment is imported, port connectivity is critical. Heavy machineries like MRI and CT scanners are transported to their destined country through waterways. Fortunately, AMTZ is not only close to water port, but also to the airport and the highway. The surrounding part of AMTZ is a mountain area which will prove crucial to its scientific facilities like electro magnetic interference, radiation safety testing and others, which need an isolated environment. Hence, the geographical location of AMTZ gives the strategic approach to port, airport and highway which is critical, while the landscapes makes it more valuable and can be exploited for various characteristic requirements.