Pharmacy to the World Can’t Make Diapers, Hospital Beds
India is lagging in manufacturing medical devices and the recent increase in import duties on such devices are a ‘corrective step’ to create an ecosystem for manufacturing them locally, according to a top government official.
While India is known as the pharmacy of the world, exporting to over 200 countries, it is falling behind in medical devices whose regulation was recently entrusted with the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Union Pharmaceuticals Secretary V. K. Subburaj said on Tuesday.
“We are producing so many things, sending even satellites to Mars in a very cost-effective way. But we are not able to produce ordinary medical devices. You go to any hospital you will find that all the equipment is coming from other countries, even the ordinary monitors, hospital beds. Can’t we produce hospital cots and beds here?” Mr. Subburaj asked.
Citing the example of linear accelerator machines used in radiation therapy for cancer patients, the secretary said these devices cost over Rs.5 crore so the 1.5 million new cancer patients every year in India can only go to ‘corporate hospitals’ for treatment. “If you manufacture such a technology within India, and it is available, it will cost Rs.1.5 crore.