Government is Aware of Complexities of Nascent Medical Device Industry : Policy Makers

New Delhi. The government is fully aware  of the complexities of the medical device industry and would take adequate steps for the organized growth of the industry in a calibrated manner.

This assurance was given by the policy makers to the medical industry  in their interface at the CII’s 9th Medical Technology Conference held today in New Delhi.

Taking part in the discussion, Mr. K B Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health & family Welfare, has stressed the need for an integrated health information system, wherein health profiles of all citizens should be stored and retrieved as and when required. Storage of such data should be based on Aadhar card basis. Presently, such a comprehensive data collation is not taking place with the result that the data is scattered and difficult to analyze them properly. This data bank will help not only in enhancing the health expenditure but also spending them optimally.

Laying emphasis on greater use of technology, Mr. Agarwal said that the diagnostic tests should be conducted in a such a way that it is patient friendly. Collection centers, facilities for testing them at the right time and disseminating them to the patients on line or offline should be undertaken at a faster pace across the country.

Ethics should lay at the root of the medical profession, Mr. Agarwal observed. In this regard, he professed self-regulatory system to be followed by manufacturers  not only  to hold the price tags of medicines and equipment  but also to obviate the government interventions through regulatory measures

Dr. K Rajeshwara Rao, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and family Welfare said that medical insurance would be a major enabler to spread universal health. Presently, there are 24 states in India, which have medical insurance schemes of various hues and sizes. More and more states are coming out with such schemes and with such focus, he hoped that 40 crore people can be covered under universal health insurance scheme in the next five years.

Mr Sudhansh Pant, Joint Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, said that whatever decision a regulator is going to take on pricing of medical equipment would be industry sensitive.  Companies which manufacture better products would be given flexibility while pricing their products.  The Government is fully aware that medical devices segment is nascent and fledgling  and a strong infrastructure has to be built in boosting the production and for ensuring better quality standards.   The State Governments also have to be brought on board for boosting medical devices production since their policies, approaches and incentives for empowering the manufacturers would have a greater impact.

Responding to a question from the floor as to how the states would be brought on board to augment the medical devices equipment, Mr Pant said that there is already a competition among the states to woo investors.  There are 14 to 15 States which have separate exhibitions and fairs to attract  investors. He hoped that in the case of medical devices already there is an initiative on the part of states to set up medical devices parks and clusters, which he said was a good augury.

Mr K L Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, responding to a query from the floor  that total bed additions in the hospitals were not commensurate with the target set and that would affect the demand profile of the medical devises of the country, said that there has been an incremental growth in beds added every year in the country. Also, the medical equipment industry should also focus on global demand rather than basing their production targets on domestic demand.

In the discussions that followed, industry representatives have urged that the medical device sector should be treated differently since it is brain and technology driven unlike automobiles and similar sectors. They also said that in any scheme for the development of the sector pa should be patient focused.

Vinod Kumar

Health Journalist & writer. Editor of monthly health magazine "Health Spectrum."

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