Medical Plastic Data Service Magazine



Our 29th Year of Publication
Page  3 of 9

Cover Story

In Vitro Diagnostics, A Key Contributor to Medical Devices Sector

Dr. P. Siva Kumar
MedTek Professional - Advisor, New Delhi

Medical devices constitute an important part of health care sector. They comprise of an extraordinarily heterogeneous class of products. Medical Devices include such technologically simple items as ice bags and tongue depressors on one end of the continuum and very sophisticated items such as cardiac pacemakers and proton therapy devices on the other end.

Medical device industry is highly innovative and technologydriven component of healthcare and thus constantly changes the face of healthcare in the areas of diagnosis, treatment, and delivery.

The growth potential of the medical devices sector is the highest among all sectors in India’s healthcare market, with the country ranking as the fourth largest market for medical devices in Asia. With a potential for strong domestic demand and other supporting factors, India is set to emerge as an ideal destination for setting up manufacturing facilities.

India is a land full of opportunities for players in the medical devices industry. The country has also become one of the leading destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities, thus catering to a greater proportion of population.

Unfortunately, medical devices in India are still dominated by the multi-national overseas players and is hugely dependent on imports. India depends on imports to the tune of 85% of the total domestic demand of medical devices. Under these circumstances of high imports, there is a mismatch between design of certain technologies being imported and realities of clinical conditions, healthcare infrastructure and the needs of India.

Hence, there is no argument that being self-reliant in this most crucial sector is vital from a health security perspective. This high import dependency apart from strong domestic demand, offers an attractive proposition for domestic manufacturers. At present, the Indian companies are to a large extent involved in manufacturing low-end products for local as well as international consumption to a smaller extent.

If anything, the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined our dependence on other nations for a range of medical supplies from medicines to oxygen concentrators and so on.

As a result of the pandemic, several new manufacturers started to produce in the country. For example, prior to COVID, there were only 20 firms manufacturing 62 lakhs PPE kits per year, but within 2-3 months, the number of manufacturers has increased to 140 with annual capacity of 25.55 crores. Similarly, the number of Indian manufacturing firms, including ventilator manufacturers went up from 8 to 17, mask manufacturers from 30 to 108, swab manufacturers from 0 to 5, sanitizer manufacturers from 35 to 49 and RT PCR kit manufacturers from 0 to >20.

The current market size of the medical device industry in India is estimated to be $11 billion, with a projected CAGR of 14.8% and is expected to reach $11.86 billion in 2021-22 and $50 billion by 2025. India has the lowest per capita spend of around USD 3 on medical devices and it is due to the massive under-penetration that is being addressed.

Around 65% of the medical device manufacturers in India are domestic players operating in the consumables segment and catering to local consumption with limited exports. As per the industry reports, large MNCs dominate the high technology end of the medical devices market with extensive service networks. There are 750–800 domestic medical devices manufacturers in India, with an average investment of $2.3–2.7 million and an average turnover of $6.2-6.9 million.

With changing economic and regulatory environment, the medical devices industry is expected to grow significantly, fuelled by a range of factors including ‘Make in India’ initiative of Government of India. ‘Local innovation’ by MNCs as well as domestic players is also expected to drive indigenous manufacturing and lead to rapid growth of exports.

Tech-driven medical devices have been playing a pivotal role in driving Indian healthcare to reach the last mile. Due to rising demand of quality diagnostic services coupled with latest innovations, the industry is growing by leaps and bounds.

One of the key challenges mentioned by healthcare companies in manufacturing medical devices in India include lack of adequate infrastructure and logistics, concentrated supply chains and high cost of finance..

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