Indian Medical Device Industry urges Govt to Recall Import Order for Pre-Owned Medical Devices

Medical Device
Medical Device

Last Updated on December 31, 2023 by The Health Master

Pre-Owned Medical Devices

The Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) has expressed its concern over the recent decision by the Central government to permit the import of pre-owned medical devices.

According to AiMeD, this move could have serious repercussions on the Make in India movement and the National Medical Devices Policy, 2023.

The Association has also criticized FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry), a leading industry body in India, for supporting the import of pre-owned medical devices to the country.

Request for Government Intervention

In a letter addressed to Leena Nandan, the secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator with AiMeD, urged the government to intervene and halt the implementation of the Office Memorandum allowing such imports.

He argued that this decision contradicts the Prime Minister’s efforts to promote the Make in India campaign through the NMDP 2023.

Nath expressed concern that permitting the import of pre-owned and refurbished medical devices would make it nearly impossible for domestic manufacturers to address the current 90% import dependency on medical electronics.

A Comparative Perspective

Nath drew a comparison to the government’s stance on automobiles and mobile phones, where imports of pre-owned products are not allowed.

As a result, foreign companies seeking access to the lucrative Indian market had to establish manufacturing facilities within the country.

This approach led to thriving industries that generated employment for millions of people.

Nath emphasized that India should not become a dumping ground for unsafe pre-owned medical equipment, as it could endanger patients’ well-being.

Government’s Response

Following AiMeD’s request, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, assured the Association that the Office Memorandum would be reviewed and potentially rescinded for products for which manufacturing capacity is already established within India.

AiMeD’s Critique of FICCI

In a press release, AiMeD strongly criticized FICCI for supporting the import of pre-owned medical devices, as it negatively impacts domestic medical device manufacturers.

The Association accused FICCI’s Medical Devices Division of working against the interests of Indian manufacturers, labeling it an “Un-make in India” campaign that undermines Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for the country.

Industry Experts’ Concerns

Gaurav Agarwal, the managing director of Innvolution Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., expressed his reservations about using refurbished equipment for catheterization procedures.

He argued that misleadingly utilizing such equipment, like C-arms and advanced X-ray systems, could pose potential hazards.

Agarwal pointed out that India has the capacity to manufacture over 600 indigenous cath labs annually, far exceeding the need for 500 labs to serve the population’s demands for diagnosing and treating cardiovascular diseases.

Importing refurbished equipment, he added, undermines the growth of innovation, research, and development in the medical technology sector.

Suresh Vazirani, Chairman of Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd., also voiced his concerns.

He highlighted that employing old and discarded medical equipment poses risks not only to the lives of Indian citizens but also jeopardizes PM Modi’s goal of achieving self-reliance in medical technology.

Vazirani also cautioned against India becoming a destination for Western countries to dispose of outdated medical equipment, thereby preventing environmental pollution in their own nations.

India’s Standing in the Global Medical Devices Market

Vazirani emphasized that Indian medical device manufacturers meet both domestic demands and export equipment to more than 100 countries worldwide.

These manufacturers adhere to international standards and safety certifications, maintaining India’s reputation as a reliable and responsible player in the global medical technology market.

In conclusion, the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry’s appeal to the government highlights the potential adverse effects of allowing the import of pre-owned medical devices.

Their concerns revolve around the impact on domestic manufacturing, patient safety, and the overall growth of the medical technology sector in India.

The government’s decision to review the Office Memorandum in response to these concerns demonstrates a willingness to reevaluate the policy’s implications.

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