The forthcoming Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) in Visakhapatnam of Andhra Pradesh is a unique project. Dr Jitendar Sharma, CEO, AMTZ, the brains behind the project, who is also known as the MedTech Man of India, shares the finer aspects of the ambitious project in an exclusive interview with Sudheer Gouthamof Elets News Network (ENN)
As CEO of AMTZ, what is your mandate?
My mandate is to start AMTZ facility that can accommodate 200 plus manufacturing unit and establish scientific facility required for device manufacturers. Most importantly, we need to understand the purpose why the AMTZ was envisaged.
The AMTZ was conceived because India is import-dependent market in terms of medical devices technology to the extent of over 75 per cent. AMTZ aims to make India a self-sufficient and in fact an exporter of good quality and cost-effective medical technology. I hope to make AMTZ the nodal centre for that activity.
What is your approach towards AMTZ in the wake of established MedTech Zone elsewhere globally?
When we say the countries are leaders in medical device manufacturing, what does it mean? It points to two different models-there might be manufacturers in different cities in states of a country and hence that country becomes hub of manufacturers due to their collective production capacity. The second model is that, there might exist clusters of medical devices manufacturing facilities -all condensed in a special zone or trade hub.
In AMTZ, we are adapting the cluster approach, where the manufacturers are not asked to go and work out in isolation. They become part of an ecosystem where they thrive and survive together. And to support them, we are creating scientific, commercial and social infrastructure within the zone.
Overall, no medical device manufacturing zone that is exclusive for medical devices exists in the world as large as we are planning AMTZ to be. They all exist in a large zone where medical device manufacturing is a small portion like in the case of Shanghai MedTech Zone in China or Jebel Ali Trade Free Zone in Dubai.
What is the roadmap of AMTZ for the next 5 years?
Our roadmap for the next 5 years is ready. We have strategised yearwise deliverables for AMTZ. The first year will lead to the establishment of AMTZ and the second year will take manufacturers to set up their brand-specific interior assembly units. Between the third and fourth year, AMTZ would intend to saturate the domestic requirement and the internal markets within the country. Overall, we are expecting over 200 to 300 manufacturing factories in AMTZ, with each reaching a turnover of Rs 50 crore.
On average, it means the units within the zone would contribute to equipment worth Rs 15,000 crore. The total import dependency of India is Rs 24,000 crore. Therefore, we can say that in the first 4 years, 75 per cent import dependency of India will be neutralised. In the fifth year, we will exceed the capacity to meet global demands and help our manufacturers lead the global export market.
|Key Takeaways – Andhra MedTech Zone (AMTZ)|
What is the nature of national and international market you are targeting at?
The domestic and global markets will depend on two factors – Quality and Cost. As all the scientific facilities in AMTZ are being provided by the Government, the cost of production for the manufacturer will go down. With quality and cost-effective devices, the manufacturers will become competitive in the domestic market. Through AMTZ, approach towards the national market would be cost reduction, which will lead to a better competitive pricing compared to even imported products. For international market, it is not just pricing, but also the concept of internationally benchmarked quality. In AMTZ, we are going to encourage the international certifying agencies, national regulatory offices and quality support institutions to set up their offices. The approach would be to help manufacturers achieve the quality of international standards.
AMTZ coming up in Visakhapatnam of Andhra Pradesh is very unique project that provides all scientific facilities critical to medical device manufacturing as a package
What are the top five challenges you see in driving AMTZ to adesired level?
As we go ahead, I see only opportunities of medical devices sector flourishing in India. For AMTZ, we have only pooled the existing central and state government schemes to support the zone. Going forward, I would like to share the five opportunities that we see:
- Get to the small and medium enterprises, build and support them so that they become exporters, essentially meaning strengthening of the micro, small & medium enterprise (MSME) sector.
- Better collective utilisation of central and state schemes (schemes under pharmaceuticals, electronics, commerce, MSME, health, etc.), to harness the collective synergies.
- Ability to provide hands-on experience to a large number of engineering students.
- Cost reduction in the health services as an outcome of reduced cost of manufacturing. For instance, a computed tomography (CT) scanner at an approximate price of Rs 60 to 80 lakh against the existing Rs 1.5 crore from AMTZ, could lead to reduced cost of CT scan services itself.
- Under Make in India campaign of the government, medical device manufacturing will emerge as Sunshine segment in the manufacturing sector of the country. It will in turn contribute to the overall overall gross domestic product (GDP) or economy of the country, as well as the Andhra Pradesh state.