India’s just announced National Medical Devices Policy 2023 will leapfrog research and development in the segment, and it gives the country a chance to capture nearly 10-12 per cent market share globally, industry participants say.

The policy, announced by the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, envisage the sector to grow from $11 billion, at present, to $50 billion by 2030. Reducing India’s import bill in the segment is also seen as a priority.

The policy push comes over and above the performance linked incentive schemes that are already underway in the sector.

focus areas

Under the PLI scheme, 14 projects producing 37 products have been commissioned and domestic manufacturing of high-end medical devices has started in categories like Linear Accelerator, MRI Scan, CT-Scan, Mammogram, C-Arm, MRI Coils, high end X-ray tubes, etc.

The new medical devices policy will also lay the roadmap for “accelerated growth” that include focus on areas like affordability (since more devices will be available at lower costs), patient-centred and quality care (as devices can be installed across hospitals and labs), research and innovation, and skilled manpower.

“While India is only 1.5 per cent of the global medical device market, it has 8 per cent share of the medtech R&D work force already. This is a proven area to focus on and we are encouraged that by the focus on R&D,” said Pavan Choudary, Chairman, Medical Technology Association of India, an association of medical technology companies.

The policy has called for setting up of a dedicated export promotion council and push for greater market access which Choudary said was perhaps a first of its kind systematic brand positioning and awareness creation in the sector.

According to Shishir Agarwal, Secretary, NATHEALTH and MD, Terumo India Pvt Ltd, the policy – which he calls “progressive” - will drive consumption apart from spurring innovation.

Focus areas

The policy calls for creation of a Single Window Clearance System for Licensing of Medical Devices, co-opting all the stakeholder departments and organisations such as AERB, MeitY, DAHD, and enhancing the role of Indian Standards like BIS; apart from designing a coherent pricing regulation.

“Dedicated body to understand nuances of electronics , home health and single time use (consumables) will be key to build medical devices sector and (the policy is) not looking from the (perspective of) pharma (company) lenses,” Sunil Khurana, CEO and MD, BPL Medical Technologies said.

The MNCs have their own technology, but for local companies in the med-tech electronics space, the best route would be to partner with time tested & proven technology companies. “Else reinventing the wheel will delay progress by 3-4 years,” he said.

Attracting Investments

The policy calls for establishing large medical device parks, clusters equipped with world class common infra in proximity to economic zones with required connectivity. It encourages private investments, funding from VCs and push for PPPs. .

“Investors can now look at the sector with more confidence and push new age tech like AI and machine learning tools,” said Raghavendra Goud Vaggu, Global CEO, Empe Diagnostics.

As Deepak Sharma, Co-founder & CEO, MedLern says, with affordability of medical devices, treatment costs come down. “This promotes adoption of new tech and creating conducive environment for start-ups medical devices sector. All these in turn will lead to well equipped hospitals and labs,” he said.