‘India should nurture domestic medical equipment makers’

‘India should nurture domestic medical equipment makers’


Mumbai: India should incentivise manufacturing companies including multinationals, instead of taking a protectionist stance, if it plans to grow in the global supply chain of medical devices, a senior executive at global medical device company Medtronic said. Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the country, India has stressed on the importance of ‘Atmanirbharta’, or self-reliance, in manufacturing to reduce its dependence on imported products. In the space of medical devices, the government has introduced a policy that says procurement of medical devices that are under Rs 200 crore by government institutions must be done from local companies.

This move is an attempt to promote domestic manufacturing and build an indigenous industry. Madan Krishnan, a vice-president at Medtronic, said for that to happen, India should nurture companies in the country that would encourage innovation as well as create employment.

“It should be more carrot than stick in our healthcare journey. Any one company cannot manufacture all the products in India. We have 15,000 products that are in use in patients in India and all of them cannot be manufactured here,” Krishnan said. He said the Indian government should for the next 10 years try to bring in jobs, and specifically high-end jobs, in the areas of R&D.

“This will automatically help in bringing manufacturing companies and must also aspire to be a bigger part of the global supply chain.” Medtronic, a company with $30 billion annual revenue, last week announced one of the largest R&D centres outside of the US in Telangana, with an investment commitment of Rs 1,200 crore over a five-year period. This R&D centre would work on key therapy segment areas of the company, like cardiology.

This facility will also be working for global development. Medtronic said it is too early to assess the impact of Indian government’s decision to procure locally, as the company has limited exposure to government business. “Where the difference of opinion with government is that we are saying you incentivise people to invest. Also, the choice for physicians to access superior products is something we need to have a dialogue about,” Krishnan said. “How many products can we make in India in the short term? How much does it help in innovation is another issue. More companies investing in India, whether international or local, that should be the objective along with more employment and acceleration of the economy,” he said.

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