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Experts discuss COVID-19 impact at India Med Tech e-Summit 2020

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In association with ESI Medtech Solutions and in media partnership with Express Healthcare, HEAL Health Connect Solutions organised the first edition of ‘India Med Tech E-Summit 2020’ — the 11th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad on November 19, 2020. The e-Summit was split into the following three sessions:

  • Medical Devices – Make in India, Optimising Productivity through Collaboration
  • Medical Technology: Trends & Opportunities
  • Medical Devices – Challenges and Opportunities

Dr P Siva Kumar, Chairman, of Organising Committee-MedTech e-Summit, Managing Director, ESI MedTech Solutions commented, “COVID-19 has shaken the world causing enormous hardship to our lives and livelihood. There has been severe stress on healthcare systems across the world. India is way behind in terms of the allocation of funds for healthcare. The key component is the medical technology that drives the healthcare wherein India depends largely on imports of medical devices, making it less accessible and affordable. We need to improve our technology and encourage ‘Make in India initiative to become self-reliant to realise the dream of our honourable Prime Minister, Atmanirbhar Bharat. In the medical devices industry, three things are very critical – ‘Make in India’ should be the focus; trends and opportunities in medical technology and reducing the challenges and opportunities in medical devices.”

Speaking on the ongoing series of COVID FIGHTERS PUBLIC HEALTH SAFETY MOVEMENT, Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Managing Partner, HEAL Health Connect Solutions said, “We are going to complete 250 days of ‘COVID Fighters Public Health Safety Movement’. During this period, we have been able to bring on board more than 150 public health experts through 20 webinars including 2 India Health e-Summits, 1 Patients’ Rights e-Conclave, Pharma Excellence eSummit & Awards, India Immunity eSummit & Awards, COVIDiabetes eSummit and today we are organising India MedTech E-Summit & Awards, whose nomination date has been extended to 30th Nov’2020. There has been over 50 niche sessions and 10 keynote addresses with over 300 media coverages of the issues raised.

SESSION-1: Medical Devices – Make in India, Optimising Productivity through Collaboration

Moderator Rajiv Nath, Managing Director, Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices, Forum Co-ordinator, AiMeD set the tone when he commented, “Academia and industry collaboration is good for incremental innovation in the field of manufacturing devices and competitive advantages, but to make a completely new product, it would be prudent to reach out to the foreign manufacturers and do technical collaboration and licensing with them. By virtue of their vast experience, we will be able to make innovative products and also optimise our production. This way, we will be able to realise our honourable Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat dream.”

Parag Varshney, Director, International Institute for Human Development, India spoke on the reduced dependency on imports and making India self-sufficient through ‘Make in India’ initiative, saying, “Since very few medical devices are made in India and we need to increase it. For this, one of the essential things required is that ‘academia’ and ‘Industry’ need to collaborate with each other so that right kind of ‘Research & Development’ can be available to the institutions, which in turn will help manufactures to adopt the new technology and innovation to produce efficient and cost-effective medical devices suitable for the Indian environment. The academia-industry partnership will help reduce the dependency on imports and make India self-sufficient through ‘Make in India’ initiative, also making India an attractive destination for manufacturing.”

Addressing ‘India Med Tech e-Summit 2020’ — the 11th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad, Abhinav Thakur, Managing Director, Accurex Biomedical said, “The Public Procurement Order (PPO) is supporting the Indian medical devices manufacturers. However, the custom duties should also be reviewed. Big parity issue is there with a lot of momentum going on. Public procurement orders is also one of the drivers. We need to have certification mechanism in place. We are getting low quality equipment in the market. Therefore, we need to improve our brands. It is all about building a brand.”

Shantanu Pathak, co-Founder, CareNx Innovations, “For innovation, we need to work with medical and engineering colleges very closely. Collaboration between the industry and the academic is going to play a huge role. Very few Indian companies have been manufacturing medical devices. But to become Atmanirbhar Bharat, we need to accelerate the entire processes by inviting more and more young students and the professionals to contribute. India as a country has done a great job towards optimising production. We need to have a good infrastructure to get all the thing in place. If you are bringing known product then it is easy. Clinical journey is difficult, but we have to do it.”

SESSION-2 : Medical Technology: Trends & Opportunities

Moderator Amit Mohan, COO, LCS Digital & Inside Sales, GE Healthcare, South Asia, while moderating the sesond session of India Med Tech e-Summit 2020, said, “There is an intense need for medical technology as well as medical devices to ease healthcare delivery. Especially, during the COVID-19 pandemic, medical technology and medical devices have been the key components and also played a pivotal role in tackling it. The medical technology needs to be redefined from a global perspective keeping in view the local accessibility and demand. Digital technology has the potential to unleash the problems of medical technology and a great help in bringing innovation. Clouds, e-Hospitals, AI Machine Learning and Telemedicine are some of the living examples of digital technology in healthcare delivery.”

Dr Nilesh Shah, President and Chief of Science & Innovation, Metropolis Healthcare, said, “The pandemic has brought in so many difficulties for us and we faced lots of challenges. Many times we did fail to meet the demand for testing. There were lots of regulatory challenges. One of the biggest challenges was the shortage of staff. Logistics were unavailable, the problem in data management was also there. For meeting the current demands and future requirements, we need to have small to medium innovations. Collection of samples is the big challenge now. But, recently, USFDA has just approved wherein a patient can do testing at home. This is a sigh of relief for the patients.”

Dr Taslim Arif Saiyed, CEO & Director, The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) spoke on the current state of technology and infrastructure in India and said, “As far as the current technology and infrastructure in India is concerned, we need to scale it up and support it. We are largely involved in innovation and it is absolutely mindboggling to see there is innovation in medical technology. In COVID pandemic, we have learnt how to bring innovation. We have done a fantastic job in leveraging medical technology, however, more innovations are required wherein young talented innovators are there to placate the demands. Our diagnostic capabilities have increased. This capacity building will help us in the future and we will do well. We are moving up in the value chain and doing things right. We need to scale up the opportunity and bring high quality of products.”

Thomas John, Managing Director, Agappe Diagnostics, spoke on leveraging Indian infrastructure to meet the current demand, challenges and future requirements, and commented, “Foremost, to improve medical technologies, we need to focus on Research & Development followed by essential infrastructure. India has huge potential – both in terms of work force as well as technical expertise, but what we need to improve the current demand is the enhancements of infrastructure. In rural India, almost 35-40 thousand industries are there; if they are enriched with modern infrastructure, it would be quite helpful in increasing the production and bridging the gap of demand and supply.”

SESSION-3: Medical Devices – Challenges and Opportunities

Moderator Vivek Tiwari , Founder & CEO, Medikabazaar spoke on the sustainability of medical supplies and equipment to treat patients in the face of supply chain disruption during the 3rd session of ‘India Med Tech E-Summit 2020’ — the 11th Episode of HEAL-Thy Samvaad.

He said, “India is the fourth largest medical technology market in Asia. With liberalising the government policies, up to 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment is permitted in medical devices through the automatic route. Strong FDI inflows reflect the confidence of global players in the Indian medical devices market. Taking advantage of this lucrative opportunity, an increasing number of MNCs are setting up their manufacturing bases in India. With a large number of private players making their foray into healthcare, there is a growth in the number of hospitals, diagnostic centres and specialised facilities.”

He added, “There are good policy support for the industry like ‘Make in India’, ‘Medical Devices Rule of 2017’ and ‘Medical Devices Amendment Rules 2020. There is Production Linked Incentive Schemes (PLI) for Medical Devices, 2020 and the funding of Medical Devices Parks in the country. Financing common infrastructure facilities in four medical device parks of Rs 400 crore. It is expected to reduce the manufacturing cost of medical devices in the country. The growth drivers largely for Indian Medical Devices manufacturing sector are — Indian medical tourism, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and awareness in public about health. However, the greatest challenge for the medical device manufacturing industry during COVID-19 has been the balancing of the supply chain. Medical devices provide a great opportunity with challenges associated. Regulations, Innovations and Ecosystems are the three critical elements that drive this industry.”

During the panel discussion, Dr Jitendra Sharma, MD & CEO, Andhra Med Tech Zone, speaking on the need for establishing medical technology parks said, “Of course we need to establish medical technology parks because we have lost on a number of things. We have lost big time care on cancer; we have lost on cardiac care; we have lost on gastroscopy. All these were strong baseline diseases in India. Besides telemedicine care, we are lacking in lots of things. If it is not regulated, there might be a bigger calamity than COVID-19. We need quick innovations around it. Industry and regulators must come forward in consonance. Innovations seem to be the quickest solution.”

Anil Jauhari, Former CEO, NABCB, India, Member, UNFCCC, CDM, Accreditation Panel, while deliberating on the education on regulatory processes and facilitating quicker introduction in the market said, “The absence of a regulatory mechanism has been a problem. And the medical devices not being regulated is unfortunate. As of now, we don’t have a fully regulated medical devices sector, and we are not slated to be fully regulated until 2023. However, the publication of medical devices is a good step in the right direction. We require more cohesive thinking because we are not moving in a single direction but in multiple directions. Simply, if you are regulated, your products will be recognised in foreign countries.”

Soura Bhattacharyya, co-Founder & CEO, Lattice Innovations, threw light on the importance of digital solutions in medical devices sector said, “The post-COVID-19 situation will require hospital beds to beds at home. There has been a tremendous shortage of beds and a huge gap in demand and supply. Now self-care at home should be promoted as the demand for telemedicine has been increasing, which will help in this direction. As far as the manufacturing of medical devices is concerned, we need to imitate smartly and innovate creatively. Innovation is essentially required.”

The last date for the nomination of India Med Tech Innovation Awards has been extended to November 30, 2020 @ 2:00 PM.For further details about the registration in E-Summit and the nomination for awards, visit https://healfoundation.in/india-medtech-innovation-e-summit-2020/.

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