In India, for India: Medical Device Makers Plug In
Friday, July 9, 2010
(Reuters) – In a sleek glass and chrome building in Bangalore’s software hub, the more than 1,000 young researchers and engineers at GE Healthcare could hold the keys to innovations that save lives in India’s vast hinterland.
The 50,000-sq. ft. R&D facility, GE Healthcare’s largest, recently launched the MACi, a portable electrocardiogram (ECG) machine that weighs less than 1 kilo and runs on a battery even in hot, dusty conditions, enabling ECGs at just $0.20 each compared with around $50 currently.
The MACi, and its slightly heavier predecessor MAC 400, were designed, developed and manufactured with local components in India, where greater healthcare spending is boosting medical systems makers like GE, which are now focusing on making products for India.
The market for medical devices is worth up to $3 billion and growing at more than 10 percent a year, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), drawing foreign firms such as GE Healthcare, a venture with India’s Wipro, Siemens and Philips, which are also pursuing a local-for-local strategy in India.
“In theory, the opportunity is huge,” says Sujay Shetty, leader of the pharma practice at PWC in India.
“In India we want first-world technology at third-world prices. So India can also be a springboard for Africa and Latin America, which have similar needs,” he said.