More than 80 percent of medical equipment is imported into India. This year’s import bill is around Rs 45,000 crore.
India has become the largest exporter of medical equipment during 2020-21, overtaking the US and Germany
India’s claim of being self-reliant in healthcare has suffered a major setback. There has been an increase of up to 75% in the import of medtech and medical equipment from China alone, which has raised alarm bells in the Indian industry. China was earlier ranked third, which has overtaken the US and Germany to become the largest exporter of medical equipment to India during 2020-21.
According to the news of the Times of India, this figure has come to the fore despite the ‘Make in India’ policy and protests against Chinese imports after a border clash. Industry experts say that most of the growth has been due to imports of critical items like oximeters, diagnostic instruments, digital thermometers, which were essential during the pandemic, as it was not immediately possible to manufacture in India.
At the same time, the overall increase in Medtech imports from all countries is around 7%. Experts said, the government needs to continue investing in this sector, due to which imports have increased especially from China since May 2020. We are not against all these, but if they harm the domestic industry, then the domestic companies should be encouraged to adopt corrective policies.
Imports from China increased by 5 to 15 percent
Rajiv Nath of the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry said that despite orders to buy products made by domestic manufacturers, there has been a 75% increase in Chinese imports, which is a matter of concern for India. In the last few years, imports from China have increased by 5 to 15 percent on an annual basis. More than 80 percent of medical equipment is imported into India. This year’s import bill is around Rs 45,000 crore.
Medtech sector may not be ‘self-reliant’ in few months
Vishwaprasad Alva, MD, critical care and ICU equipment manufacturer Scanray Technologies, said that during the Kovid, the import of Medtech equipment from China increased rapidly. There was no way in India to manage everything except PPE kits, masks and sanitizers. The medtech sector may not be ‘self-reliant’ in a few months. We need to build technology, quality, supply chain and it will take a decade to establish, and that too when the right policy is put in place.
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