The manifesto demands for patients’ protection, stronger quality, safety regulations, price controls to make devices, quality treatment accessible, affordable and indigenous manufacturing viable
While national political parties are yet to release their manifestos, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AIMED), has put out a proposal for political parties for their election manifesto on health.
The proposal highlights demands for patients’ protection, stronger quality and safety regulations, price controls to make devices and quality treatment accessible and affordable and indigenous manufacturing viable.
The key points of AIMED’s proposal are:
- Need to regulate all medical devices under a Patients’ Safety Medical Devices Law to protect patients.
- Need to protect consumers from exploitatively high MRP in medical devices by rationalised price controls.
- Need to encourage employment and Make in India of medical devices and address 70-90 per cent import dependency by a predictive nominal tariff protection policy to ensure a vibrant domestic industry and competitiveness and price stability driven by competing domestic players.
- Need to incentivise quality in healthcare products in public healthcare procurements by preferential pricing for Q1 e.g ICMED (QCI’s Indian Certification for Medical Devices) instead of L1 to ensure patients access acceptable quality.
Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator of AIMED, said “We are acutely aware that these are very specific and detailed demands for a political party’s election manifesto. We insist these are necessary as a part of a health-for-all national agenda, to make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for common masses and to place India among the Top 5 medical devices manufacturing hubs worldwide and end the 70-90 per cent import dependence forced upon us and an ever increasing import bill of over Rs 31,000 crore. Pseudo manufacturing and unethical marketing is harming consumers and disallowing manufacturing to succeed in India by well meaning investors.”
Broader wishes like universal healthcare, free diagnostics, require a thriving indigenous medical device sector which is well regulated and produces affordable quality products, explains Dr Jitendar Sharma, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Andhra Med Tech Zone.
Diluted and fragmented piece meal unpredictable regulation spread across multiple bodies has done more harm to the sector and the patients. Sharma wants that to stop and a coherent and single regulatory body constituted with a predictable regulatory roadmap.
India’s public investment in health sector continues to be one of the lowest in the world, at less than 1.3 per cent of the GDP. 70 per cent of healthcare expenditure is met by private expenses by Indians. And catastrophic expenses in healthcare push 7 per cent Indians into poverty every year. Indians incur 52 per cent of the out-of-pocket-expenditure on drugs and 10 per cent on diagnostics. “The PMJAY kicks in only after hospitalisation and cannot be accessed by the middle class – what about them?” asked Nath.