The import of medical devices in the country has seen an increase in the past three years amid Central and State government’s efforts to promote local manufacturing of medical equipment.

In 2020-21, India imported $6.24 billion worth of medical devices, up from $5.84 billion in 2019-20 and $5.7 billion in 2018-19. In FY21, electronics equipment accounted for a major portion of imports at $3.6 billion, followed by $1.5 billion worth consumables and disposables. Other major items include IVD reagent, implants and surgical instruments, according to information provided by Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers.

Though India is the third largest player globally in pharmaceuticals in terms of volume and is the largest supplier of low-cost generics and vaccines to the world, the potential for the medical device industry growth is the highest among all the sectors in the healthcare market.

About two-thirds of the medical equipment producers in India are mostly home-grown players operating in the consumables segment and catering to local consumption with limited export share. Thus, over 80 per cent of the devices are imported. Large global companies lead the high-tech medical devices market in India supported by strong service networks.

Under the “Promotion of Medical Devices Parks” scheme, effective from FY2020-2021 to FY 2024-2025, the Department of Pharmaceuticals received proposals seeking financial assistance from 16 States/Union Territories.

Government approval

After evaluation of the proposals, the Government has in-principally approved financial assistance for common infrastructure facilities for 4 medical device parks, which are coming up in Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

The Central government has also come out with a PLI Scheme for promoting domestic manufacturing of medical devices.

The PLI Scheme, effective between FY21 and FY28 with a total financial outlay of ₹3,420 crore, intends to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the medical devices sector. Under the scheme, 42 proposals have been approved for a total committed investment value of ₹1,059.33 crore with a potential to generate jobs for more than 6,400.

According to government estimates, the current market size of the medical devices industry in India, 4th largest in Asia after Japan, China and South Korea, is estimated at about $11 billion and has been growing at a CAGR of 15 per cent over the last 3 years. This industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 37 per cent in the coming years to reach a size of $50 billion by 2025.