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NEW DELHI : The upcoming Union budget may announce setting up of a dedicated institute for researching on medical devices on the lines of those for pharmaceuticals, two officials at the department of pharmaceuticals said.

The plan for a National Institute for Medical Devices Education & Research (NIMER) is part of the government’s plan to achieve self-sufficiency in the sector.

India imports 63,000 crore worth of medical devices every year, comprising 80% of its needs. The aim is to make medical devices one of the champion sectors, and lift India’s share of the global medical devices industry from 10-12% currently.

“To strengthen the medical device sector in India, we have sent a proposal for the upcoming budget to establish a NIMER similar to existing pharmacy schools like the National Institute of Pharmaceuticals Education & Research (NIPER). As planned, NIMER would be for medtech education and research," one of the two officials cited above said on the condition of anonymity. The budget is expected to be presented on 1 February.

Most innovative and high-tech medical devices emerge from a well-developed ecosystem. The industry is highly capital-intensive with a long gestation period and needs development and induction of new technologies.

The Indian medical devices industry is estimated at $11 billion and has the potential to reach $50 billion by 2030. India ranks among the world’s top 20 global medical devices market, and is the fourth largest in Asia after Japan, China and South Korea.

Following the pandemic, the government encouraged many manufacturers to locally produce consumables and other advanced implantable medical devices.

“The department is keeping a close watch on the innovations in the medtech sector. The budget is likely to announce a few proposals for the medtech area, and institutes like NIMER. The government aims to create strong visibility of the medical devices ecosystem to the world and build a brand identity for the Indian medtech sector," a second official said. Queries sent to a spokesperson for the department of pharmaceuticals remained unanswered.

The department is already implementing the production linked incentives scheme for medical devices and bulk drug parks for medical devices. It is also bringing out a policy on medical devices, which is presently going through inter-ministerial consultations.

Mint earlier reported about the government working on a plan to offer financial incentives to encourage the production of high-end medical devices by establishing 15-16 medical device production clusters and labs for testing such devices. In addition, a separate research council for medical devices may also figure in the budget.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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