Most of the rise is attributed to imports of vital gadgets like oximeters, diagnostic devices, digital thermometers and chemical reagents, which had been wanted throughout the pandemic as a fast scale-up wasn’t potential, trade specialists stated. What makes this starker is that the general improve in medtech imports from all nations is nearly 7%.
“Covid had a silver lining, for bringing into focus the medical devices industry for healthcare security of the nation, even as international supply chains initially got disrupted. The government needed to continue to protect investments in this field, rather than giving mixed signals by reducing duty on Covid-critical devices to zero temporarily, which subsequently led to a huge influx of imports, especially from China from May 2020. We are not against imports. But if these harm the domestic industry, then corrective policies by incentivising homegrown players need to be taken. The huge 75% increased influx of Chinese imports even after having a stated public procurement order that is supposedly in favour of domestic manufacturers should be of concern to policymakers seeking to make India ‘Atma Nirbhar,” stated Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) discussion board coordinator Rajiv Nath.
Of the 151 eight-digit HS codes that cowl med gadgets, there are 58 gadgets the place imports have jumped from greater than 25% to over 42,000%, trade information exhibits. Typically, imports from China had risen 5-15% yr-on-yr in the previous few years. More than 80% of medical gadgets are imported into India, with this yr’s import invoice at practically Rs 45,000 crore.
“Imports of medtech devices from China increased sharply during Covid. But except for PPE kits, masks & sanitisers, etc, there was no way to manage critical shortages. Medtech can’t be ‘Atma Nirbhar’ in a few months. We need to build technology, quality, supply chain and it will take a decade to establish it, if there is undisturbed attention and right policy,” stated Vishwaprasad Alva, MD of vital care and ICU tools producer Skanray Technologies.
Significantly, the nil customs responsibility didn’t profit shoppers and, with no most retail value (MRP) printed on gadgets, there was huge profiteering as a result of enormous mark-ups. Besides masks & PPE kits, sure gadgets like ventilators witnessed sturdy progress as a result of sudden and big demand, with corporations additionally changing into largely self-reliant. Industry observers identified that home gamers additionally have to develop experience in neonatal & baby care, OT & surgical, ICU, radiology & scanning, and cardiac care, with help from the non-public sector and authorities.
Max Ventilators founder & CEO Ashok Patel stated, “Private sector procurement largely has not been supporting the ‘Make in India’ programme, with China continuing to be a major supplier. The Centre’s bulk purchases have been mainly restricted to respiratory care and oxygen delivery equipment due to the pandemic. Hence, there hasn’t been much impetus for players to build capacity/capability in other segments.”
“During the pandemic, our local vendors — in a bid to reduce import dependence — developed several key components, as supply from the US and Europe was disrupted. But for imports of circuit boards, we were forced to shift to China this year from the US as distributors promised assured delivery,” he added.