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FICCI calls for balanced policy for Pharma industry

Govt urged to focus on export-oriented devices

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has suggested the Indian Government to adopt a four-pillar balanced approach while drafting the policy to assure the sustainable growth of the nascent pharmaceutical industry.

FICCI has also proposed that a careful evaluation based selection be made on manufacturing of certain targeted medical devices that can fit the current Indian manufacturing skills and manufacturing ecosystem, along with prevalence of disease that they address, and that the Government facilitates local manufacturing of them in a targeted manner towards the “Make in India” Program.

FICCI pointed out that targeting all complex medical devices for “Make in India” will neither find success nor will make healthcare cost effective in the country.

The current consumption levels of medical devices in India at US$3 per capita is far lower than the US$50 to US$70 per capita consumption of China, Brazil and Russia, thus making “Make in India” a challenge.

Universal Healthcare Provision, by significantly enlarging India’s healthcare market from its currently abysmal 0.8 beds per 1,000 population will expand the supply side market size of medical devices.

Since it is proven that the world over medical device is a global supply chain, as evidenced by the fact that even China is more than 70% import dependent in this sector, FICCI has called on the Government to focus on building India’s global medical devices export competitiveness without seeking to curb imports.

Importing low volumes of high quality and novel medical devices will facilitate market adoption, and scale the Indian market, which will eventually benefit domestic manufacturing to acquire both skill and scale.

If this strategy is not adopted, India will have to direct far larger resources towards novel innovation, for which both funds and medical research capability is currently in short supply, it stressed.

FICCI observed that, in the absence of a cogent policy, currently all medical devices are treated the same from a policy standpoint.

Since both technology and market adoption vastly varies from such low risk devices as a syringe, I.V. catheter or a blood bag, to high risk – high complexity devices as pacemakers and equipment such as MRI machines, FICCI has urged the Government not be make a blanket unsegmented policy.

The policy should acknowledge the sub-segmentation of medical devices into simple engineering and complex engineering, and apply distinct policy treatment, wherever applicable.

As the medical device is a fast innovation driven industry, it will be of utmost importance for the Government to promote an innovation ecosystem approach.

This can be driven by keeping innovative devices outside price control, scaling currently abysmal number of innovation incubators such as School of Bio-design to several such institutes, and launching a fiscal incentive mechanism for attracting top global med-tech innovators to India.

FICCI said it is committed towards an appropriate and balanced National Medical Device Policy that is designed to enable a quick and well-planned acceleration of the sector. fii-news.com

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