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Cover Story

Importance Of Physician Contribution To The Development Of Medical Devices

Many relationships between physicians and industry have led to life-saving innovations, such as steerable cardiac catheters and certain artificial heart valves. Physician innovators also developed the first reliable pacemakers in the 1950s and 1960s, with medical device makers later introducing additional refinements.

Physicians can hold a unique position as innovators in medical industry, particularly with medical devices. Use of medical devices usually requires a high degree of specialized knowledge and skill. Physicians on the leading edge of medical knowledge may find it necessary at first to build the tools they need, if those tools do not yet exist. Perhaps for this reason, global device manufacturers consider physician-researchers to hold a central role in the industry and often pursue ideas from the same physician-entrepreneurs over time.

Previous research has shown the various contributions physicians make to medicine. For example, one study showed that 57% of existing drugs’ new uses originated through clinical practice, rather than research. Another study showed that 80% of the scientific instrument innovations users found most useful had originated from other physician-users (rather than manufacturers directly).

Physicians are an important source of medical device innovation ICMR – DHR Policy Guidelines on Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

In Biomedical research, clinicians, medical professionals and scientists play a key role in the innovation cycle. Though the innovations from the medical, dental, para-medical institutes may hold the potential for their translation to socially relevant products, for a successful commercialization, a medical institute needs inputs from diverse areas of expertise. Therefore, there is a necessity to develop a suitable mechanism for promoting biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship in Medical Institutes to foster development of unmet need driven, socially impactful technologies for societal benefit.

With an aim to promote innovation and entrepreneurship at Medical, Dental, Para-Medical Institutes and allied Biomedical Research and Academic Institutions, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR, Department of Health Research (DHR), has brought out National Policy Guidelines on Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

As per Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare “This policy document is envisaged to promote Make-in-India, Start-Up-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives of the Government of India. I hope that the Make-in-India products developed by inter-disciplinary group of doctors, biomedical innovators and engineers by adoption of this policy will benefit the poor and vulnerable groups in the country and help in furtherance of sustainable development goals.”

“It is time that India also demonstrates its strength and mettle through research, entrepreneurship and innovative initiatives in the health sector, including medical devices. Under the leadership and guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister, India has taken several notable steps towards self-reliance and selfsustenance, especially in vaccine development during the pandemic period. I am very hopeful that this Policy of DHR-ICMR unveiled today will motivate, incentivise and give a fillip to all the
stakeholders. It will ensure multi-disciplinary collaboration, promote start-up culture and develop an innovation led ecosystem at the medical institutes across the country by promoting Make-in India, Start-Up-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives of the Government of India.”

As per Prof. Balram Bharagava, Secretary, DHR and Director General, ICMR, “With 605 Medical Colleges/Institutes and nearly 1 lakh doctors graduating annually in the country, Indian Council

Physicians Are An Important Source Of Medical Device Innovation

of Medical Research (ICMR) as the apex medical research institution realized that there is a need to strongly promote healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship at Medical, Dental, Para-Medical Institutes/Colleges and allied Biomedical Research and Academic Institutions by creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem in the country as the healthcare innovations and entrepreneurship is making forays in the Indian economy.

A critical ingredient of a successful and sustainable innovation ecosystem is to explore opportunities for collaboration among the medical professionals, healthcare organizations, academia, government and industry. With immense knowledge and exposure to the unmet healthcare needs, Medical Professionals, Scientists and technologists should be at the forefront of biomedical innovation.

It-resonates with the motto of our Hon'ble Prime Minister to "Innovate, Patent, Produce and Prosper" by promoting Make-in- India, Start-Up-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives of the Government of India.

There is no IP and entrepreneurship policy in most of the medical colleges as compared to engineering colleges. Only 15 per cent medical colleges have laid down IP policy as against 85 per cent of engineering colleges. Medical institutes have contributed only 5 per cent patent filings from 2010 to 2020. Rest was filed by engineering institutes.

The policy’s vision is to create an innovation-led entrepreneurial ecosystem in India with the ultimate goal of positively impacting human health and well-being. Its mission is to formulate an overarching policy for creating nationwide innovation and entrepreneurial framework at medical colleges, hospitals, institutes for societal impact.

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