We stand out! At the media round table discussions held at New Delhi on May 05, 2014, the industry experts were quite optimistic about the new government and expressed hope that their concerns would be looked into at the earliest.
Often identified with the pharma sector, the medical devices industry has long been fighting for recognition as a separate industry. There are said to be 14,000 different kinds of devices in India. The industry experts point out that a huge demand and supply gap of almost 92 percent exists in the market and argue that the government has so far not addressed the needs of this segment.
Lack of awareness about this industry too has been a major cause of concern. This is backed by a new report by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) where the findings of a survey of 1,300 Indians from across 17 states revealed that although an overwhelming 72 percent of respondents use medical devices, 89 percent do not know enough about them.
On the sidelines of a roundtable discussion on 05 May, 2014 held at New Delhi, Ms Anuradha Das Mathur, an expert in the area told BioSpectrum that the medical devices industry is often confused with drugs and that there is limited understanding of the sector, leading to non-regulation and chaos. She added, "There is a need to address various issues within the bill such as spelling out medical devices in detail and clarity on the clinical trial regulations."
"Our survey suggests that people in India do not know enough about medical devices but want to know more. It is quite astounding that 60 percent of respondents think that medical devices are the same as pharmaceuticals," said Mr Sanjay Banerjee, managing director, Zimmer India, and chair of the AdvaMed India Working Group.
Interestingly, the survey also finds that although India is a price-conscious market, quality is an important consideration among the country's growing middle class. It showed that 75 percent of respondents believe that the quality of the medical device is important because the safety of the patient is paramount.
According to 72 percent of respondents, using a high-quality device would help them avoid repeated hospitalization costs. Responding to this finding, AdvaMed vice president, US-based Ms Abby Pratt said, "Unlike in the case of many other products in India where people unequivocally choose the cheapest option, this survey suggests that when it comes to advanced medical devices, quality becomes important because of its correlation to safety. It is noteworthy that 80 percent of respondents see a correlation between brand name and quality.''