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Vishnu Bhat

Vishnu Bhat is the Chairman of Blue Neem medical devices private limited.

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The Indian Medical Devices Industry – The Year that was and Outlook for 2018

This year brought Medical Devices Industry into focus, which was largely on the side lines up until now. There was continued innovation in the Medical Devices sector which bore fruition this year.

2017, was a very interesting year for the medical devices industry in India. We actually witnessed the medical devices Industry evolve parallel on two different trajectories- the core manufacturing sector finding innovative ways of establishing themselves along with new age technology  start-ups making serious inroads in the diagnostics and wearable space.

This year brought Medical Devices Industry into focus, which was largely on the side lines up until now. There was continued innovation in the Medical Devices sector which bore fruition this year.  Excellent example I can cite is of Bhabha Atomic Research Center scientists, who developed a credit card-sized Tele-ECG machine that can transmit an ECG over mobile phones to save lives and it is a low-cost, affordable solution, which can reach remote corners of India.

The healthcare sector took centre stage and as the new Medical Devices Rules kick in from January 2018, several start-ups and SMEs selling specialty surgical devices such as stents, catheter to high-end devices and equipment like the ones used in  Intervention Radiology are gearing up to meet this pent-up demand. Its heartening to see some interesting innovation taking shape to meet the unique needs of the domestic market. The market worked towards reducing its dependence on imports, as local manufacturing expanded under the "Make In India" initiative. The expanding private sector will remain the main growth driver into 2018.

Even though manufacturing in the past were limited to producing low technology products, a few Indian domestic companies successfully moved up the value chain, designing and developing specialty devices at a lower cost and are on par in terms of quality in the global market. Ergo these products have developed a niche market in many regions globally.

Future trends in 2018 for the Medical Devices Industry:

According to a Deloitte report, the growth rate of India’s medical-device industry is around 15% which is more than double of the global industry growth rate of 4-6%, and is expected to become a $25-30 billion industry in India by 2025.

With the introduction of the New Medical Devices Bill, due to the maturity and process driven DNA of some of the companies in the medical devices manufacturing space, it will bring more credibility to Indian companies on the global platform. 

The manufacturing space in the medical devices sector is virgin territory and with the government’s push, there is a real opportunity for Indian companies.  Apart from the cost, the government’s move to separate manufacturing of medical devices from drugs from the regulatory perspective could usher in better transparency and a level playing field for medical devices makers. This will go a long way in building robust standards ecosystem for the industry, boost domestic production as well as boost exports, usher in greater foreign investment in the sector and bring in more investments into infrastructure and processes.

Similarly, technology will continue to provide a fantastic platform for disruptive innovation, wherein the wearables and diagnostic framework leveraging technology can provide out-of-the box, innovative and cost effective solutions for the masses of the country.

Going into 2018 and outlook for the future, these two paradigms will continue to evolve parallel to each other with the Medical devices Industry providing fantastic opportunities for convergence, both for traditional manufacturing , as well as high tech companies, to create disruptive innovative solutions for both India and the world.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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