Medtronic bats for greater technology adoption in healthcare

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on December 25, 2019 Published on December 25, 2019

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Presently, at about $ 6 billion, the medical devices segment is small on a global scale, says the company’s Vice President (Indian subcontinent)

India can well take a page out of South Korea’s approach to healthcare, said Madan Krishnan, Vice President (Indian subcontinent) with the medical devices company Medtronic.

The Government in South Korea places much importance on the adoption of innovative technology and its own spending on healthcare, Krishnan told BusinessLine, outlining areas that India could work on to make the region attractive for companies to invest.

Having worked for over two decades outside India and with exposure to developed, developing and emerging markets, Krishnan said that Medtronic was looking to “encourage” the parent company to make more investments in India.

Presently, at about $ 6 billion, the medical devices segment is small on a global scale, he said.

Medtronic’s own journey in India has clocked 40 years. While it has been involved with training physicians and partnering with State governments at one level, the company has also had its share of patient advisories, particularly a recent one involving particular brands of its pace-makers. It was also among the cardiac stent-makers impacted when the Government cracked-down on inflated trade-margins on these products.

Krishnan defends corrective action taken on product-concerns, adding that companies should be lauded for putting out patient advisories.

In fact, as med-tech companies are also being cautioned by the United States (US) regulatory authority on cyber hackers, who can manipulate patient details on products, Krishnan said that cyber security was an evolving area and India would benefit from the knowledge coming out on these concerns.

Make it attractive

On the regulatory front, the company operates in the Indian medical devices sector that is still in the process of getting its own framework, as opposed to being seen through the same lens as pharmaceuticals.

Responding to whether the regulatory framework and the Government’s approach of exercising price-control was acting as a disincentive to investment, Krishnan said that there was a dialogue among the different stake-holders and industry was aligned with the overall objective of the government.

However, it was important to balance access with keeping it viable for industry, as well, he said. Transparency on pricing and predictability would help make the region more attractive, he added.

But even as the regulatory pathway gets more formalised, he said, they were looking to “double down” on India in terms of bring more research jobs here. The company was also partnering with State government projects, he said, referring to Kerala, where they have a project on hearing loss, for example.

Krishnan also highlighted their work on stroke in the country. Studies show that every day 4500 people are affected by stroke and less than 2 per cent get the right care at the right time, he said, adding that they were working to create a stroke-ready network with about 50 centres in the first phase.

Published on December 25, 2019
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