- Quality and innovation, not price control should be the focus
- Approach to price control policy could have been different, say experts
- Capping of trade margins, evaluating differential or tiered pricing based on the essentiality of the device should be explored
A recent paper discusses the current business scenario, government initiatives, various policies and regulations within the Medical Devices industry in India. Recommending a path towards a dialogue between private and public sector for a sustainable and predictable growth, the report entitled ‘The Medical Device Industry in India – The evolving landscape, opportunities, and challenges.’, was recently released jointly by the global trade association, AdvaMed, and SKP Business Consulting LLP at the MedTech Conference in San Jose, USA.
Over the past couple of years, the government has been very active in pushing forward its National Health Policy Agenda. Recognizing the current shift in healthcare demand, the Indian Government plans to raise public expenditure on health to 2.5% of the GDP. However, the recent pricing control regulation and the new Public Procurement Policy with preferential Market Access do not reflect a reasonabledialogue between the government and the industry. This has alarmed many global industry players and could have a detrimental impact on multinational companies coming to India.
The industry while appreciating the government’s intent to improve affordability, feels that the approach towards pricing control could have been different. The report discusses various industry suggestions including capping of trade margins, evaluating differential or tiered pricing based on theessentiality of the device and other such factors which are based on an in-depth market understanding and experiences of other countries.
The report also provides its recommendation towards a long-term vision and roadmap for the industry. While guarding against profiteering, regulators need to ensure that the healthcare industry is profitable and can grow and upgrade to bring in all required technological advancements.
The government is starting to move in the right direction by separatingout medical devices from drugs,but more work is required. Improved understanding of significant differences between the two sub-sectors will continue to help shape an appropriate policy. Key to this is an appreciation of the industry’s technology and innovation lifecycle, and a willingness to reward technology and continuing innovation since India has a long way to go in this sub-sector given the current industry size.
The government should broaden its vision from Make in India to include both Innovate in India and Heal in India. A faster-growing healthcare delivery sector will boost the demand for medical devices and provide the necessary scale the industry seeks.
Describing the industry, Mr. Guljit Singh, Executive Chairman, SKPBusiness ConsultingLLP commented, “The medical device industry is highly technology driven, innovative and a rapidly advancing industry globally. It is an industry that is changing the face of healthcare worldwide, impacting and improving diagnosis, treatment, and delivery. Understanding the nature of this industry will help ensure that the country maximizes the opportunity provided by medical technology to improve India’s healthcare status. The medical device industry in India today is still nascent with low levels of adoption and penetration. This presents an opportunity to develop this industry to play a much larger role in the transformation of Indian Healthcare.”
“The healthcare and medical device industries are at a critical threshold where growth can be significantly accelerated to ensure that India embraces the benefits of advancing medical technology to uplift standards of healthcare sharply in the next decade. A vibrant and profitable private sector is critical for success. By proactively listening to and understanding each other better, the government and industry can collaborate effectively to realize the vision of the 2017 National Health Policy.” says Mr.Ravindranath Menon, Senior Business Adviser, SKP Business Consulting LLP.
Commenting on the report, Abby Prett, Vice President, Global Strategy & Analysis, AdvaMed — Advanced Medical Technology Association said, “Quality and innovation are key to building a strong healthcare ecosystem that is able to meet the current and future needs of all of India’s people, and the recently introduced price controls represent a step in the wrong direction toward this goal. Rather than addressing concerns surrounding affordability and accessibility, price controls lead to significant negative impacts, including new concerns over access to high quality care and impeded availability of the most advanced treatments and cures from the medical technology industry. The medical technology industry stands ready to work with all stakeholders toward sustainable, market-oriented alternatives.”