IT Minister wants ‘Made in India’ MRI machine to be ready by end-2019

Ronendra Singh | | Updated on: Mar 21, 2018
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Indian healthcare sector can soon see an indigenous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, which could be much cheaper than those made by Philips Healthcare or GE Healthcare.

According to sources close to the development, the government is working on the first ‘Made in India’ MRI machine, the prototype of which is expected by December. The Minister of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Ravi Shankar Prasad wants it to be ready to be marketed before the end of 2019.

“The Minister (Prasad) held a meeting with the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER, under the MeitY) on Tuesday in which details were discussed,” an official privy to the meeting told BusinessLine .

The official said Prasad was very keen about the project and wanted to further extend manufacturing of electronic hardware beyond the mobile phones under the ‘Make in India’ programme.

“He (the Minister) also has said that he will request the Health Ministry to involve some of their senior officials in the MRI project for specifications and other requirements that may be needed,” said another official.

Once the prototype is ready, it will take around one more year to make it market-ready with all the required processes such as quality check and trial runs, the official added.

According to sources, such low-cost medical devices are required in India to bring down the costs to the patients. At present, an MRI machine costs more than ₹1 crore and therefore the charges are also high per scan for the consumers (around ₹5,000 and above depending on the requirement).

Medical devices industry

The medical devices industry in India is valued at around $5.2 billion and contributes four-five per cent to the $96.7- billion health care industry.

According to the government’s ‘Make in India’ Web site, currently, India has about 750–800 medical device manufacturers in the country, with an average investment of ₹17-20 crore and an average turnover of ₹45-50 crore.

According to industry estimates, the medical devices market will grow to $50 billion by 2025. Currently, India is counted among the top 20 global medical devices market and is the fourth largest medical devices market in Asia after Japan, China and South Korea.

The government’s Draft National Medical Device Policy 2015 also proposed to strengthen the Medical Devices sector by reducing dependence on imports, thereby giving impetus to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

However, in a recent development, the Association of Indian Medical Device industry has expressed disappointment over the Draft Medical Devices Preferential Market Access Policy which has been issued by Department of Pharmaceuticals saying the Draft Policy does not give much impetus to indigenous players in the form of incentives on maintaining and improving quality.

Published on March 21, 2018

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