National

‘Relax norms for import of diagnostic equipment’

Swathi Moorthy Chennai | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 23, 2015

Access to affordable, good-quality diagnostic centres an issue: Metropolis

Affordability and accessibility to good-quality diagnostic centres have to be enhanced by easing norms for importing equipment, according to Ameera Shah, Managing Director and CEO, Metropolis.

She said there are only three laboratories in India that follow the global protocol mandated for a pathology centre, including Metropolis. Most of the instruments are imported since they are not indigenously manufactured.

“This is what increases the cost of healthcare since the instruments have customs duty and foreign exchange associated with it,” Shah said, and added that investment for the instrument ranges from ₹63 lakh to ₹12 crore ($100,000 to $2 million). Stating that they have been lobbying with the government to remove the customs duty for the benefit of patients, she said the situation has not changed.

“Tests such as HIV Drug Resistance, which identifies the drug the victim is resistant to based on genetic makeup, cost ₹10,000 and are not usually recommended by doctors since they are expensive,” she said.

Shah said the cost of the test has come down to ₹8,000 in the past five years due to increasing volumes but even then, affordability is a challenge.

Rural reach

In an effort to reach out to rural areas, where access to good diagnostic centres is virtually non-existent, a plan for expansion will be set in motion, she said. The chain is also looking to expand in Africa, where it has 10 laboratories and aims to expand to 100 facilities.

Published on June 23, 2015

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