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Govt and the industry must work together to reduce import dependence: Pharma Secy

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NEW DELHI : Government and industry should work together to bring down import dependence in the medical device segment to below 50 per cent over the next five years, Department of Pharmaceuticals Secretary Arunish Chawla said.

Highlighting the critical need to focus on quality to ensure that India becomes globally competitive, he noted that the government is in the process of formulating standards for over 2,000 medical devices being produced in the country in order to make them globally competitive.

“Right now our med-tech sector is 75-80 per cent import dependent. In the next five years, we want to bring down this import dependence to less than 50 per cent,” Chawla said while speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of an industry event to formulate better policies for the sector.

Chawla noted that deliberations were also held during the Meditech Stackathon 2024 to scale the medical device exports to match the level of imports of such articles into the country, he added.

Stressing on the need to produce quality products for global markets, he noted that the government is trying to enhance standards of manufacturing process.

“Zero defect, full effect, this is our mission. Through BIS, we are making product standards for medical devices which would be comparable to ISO. We have already set standards for 1,500 products,” Chawla said.

The formulation of standards for around 500 products is in the process, he added.

Chawla noted that the industry is also focusing on creating quality systems to get export certification which is followed across overseas markets.

He noted that the PLI scheme for medical devices has played a stellar role in the growth of the segment.

“Around 150 medical devices, which used to be imported earlier, are now being produced in the country…even exports have started now of such products,” Chawla said.

Exports have overtaken imports in consumables and disposables during last year, he said, and urged the industry to continue with the momentum in other pillars of the med-tech sector.

India’s Med Tech industry is poised to grow to USD 50 billion by 2030 from the current level of USD 14 billion. India currently ranks as the fourth largest market for medical devices in Asia and stands among the top 20 globally.

Net imports for 2022-23 stood at USD 4,101 million.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has organised the Meditech Stackathon 2024.

CII National Medical Technology Forum Chairman Himanshu Baid highlighted the need for enhanced data collation mechanisms to address gaps in product consumption and production within India.

He stated that India’s med-tech landscape is brimming with promise, poised to capture 10 per cent of the global market share over the next decade.

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