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NITI Aayog has recommended taking a holistic view of medical devices pricing.
NITI Aayog has recommended taking a holistic view of medical devices pricing.

Medical technology industry urges govt to look at sub-categorization of devices

The medical technology industry also seeks phased implementation of the 'Make in India' initiative in the sector, saying it should focus on devices that have the potential to be made locally in the short run

New Delhi: In the backdrop of recent policy decisions regarding medical devices including pricing caps, the medical technology industry has urged the government to look at sub-sectoring and sub-categorization of medical devices on the basis of engineering complexity to maintain clarity.

The significance of the medical technology industry is not fully appreciated, and the sector is under-prioritised, according to industry representatives.

“The healthcare sector rests on four pillars—hospitals, pharmaceutical industry, health insurance industry and the medical technology industry. The last of these is the least understood of all yet most significant for enhancing quality of healthcare, and has direct implications for patient outcomes," said Pavan Choudary, director general of the Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), a non-governmental organization.

The industry has also sought phased implementation of the “Make in India" initiative in the sector, saying it should focus on devices that have the potential to be made locally in the short run, instead of the advanced technologies that require a more enhanced ecosystem and know-how that may take years to develop in the country.

“The policies must factor in the existing gaps in the domestic manufacturing industry, and promote ease of doing business by way of reduced inter-organizational delays, enhanced start-up industrial finance, simplified regulations such as single-window clearance, and greater investment in infrastructure," said Sanjay Bhutani, director, MTaI.

“The recently presented NITI Aayog action agenda recognizes the significance of global companies’ presence for the domestic industry to compete with and grow. Import substitution as a focus of policies needs to be replaced with greater efforts directed towards ensuring global competitiveness through export promotion and meeting global quality standards," Choudary said.

MTaI says it endorses the Trade Margin Rationalization Report of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, provided unique and deserving sub-sectoral nuances are given due consideration.

The industry argues that any ‘access enhancing’ (price control) mechanisms must be preceded by a careful impact analysis of creation of geographical access barriers, quality of outcomes, reverse medical tourism, and decreased incentive to innovate.

Government think tank NITI Aayog has recommended taking a holistic view of medical devices pricing. “There is a need to look at medical devices holistically, and not through narrow prisms of singular initiatives and policies," said Urvashi Prasad, public policy specialist, office of vice chairman, NITI Aayog.

The central government has capped the prices of cardiac stents and orthopedic implants this year and plans to bring more devices under price control.

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