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Global Forum Calls For Strategies On Medical Devices

The first Global Forum on Medical Devices organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Bangkok in the second week of September, has emphasised the need for appropriate evaluation, prioritization, regulation, assessment, management and research strategies on medical devices to promote accessibility, quality and innovation in the segment.


The forum elaborated on the need to bring in essential medical devices list through identifying the cost advantages and the availability of innovation in the member countries to provide accessibility of essential medical devices for the people. The effective management of the products, which includes need for better after sales services to optimise the use of the devices, and need of separate and independent regulatory set up for the segment were also discussed, according to industry sources attended the meeting.


The organisation, which conducted a survey in 140 countries on the accessibility of medical devices in developing countries, revealed in the forum that the "unquestionable benefits of medical devices are so unevenly and unfairly distributed," and a huge number of patients, especially in the developing world, were not able to benefit from such devices. This is despite the fact that an estimated 10,500 different types of devices were available on the market ranging from high-cost diagnostic and therapeutic equipment to basic technologies.


The forum was convened by the WHO to discuss the lack of accessibility of medical devices in developing nations and to look into the need of preparing an essential medical devices list, post sales management of devices to ensure maximum utilisation of the products and separate and country-wise independent regulatory bodies for the segment. In its report, the Medical Devices: Managing the Mismatch - An outcome of the Priority Medical Devices project issued during the summit, the WHO reveals that the sales revenue of the Indian Medical Devices industry is US$ 1617 million in the year 2009 and with a growth rate of 7.5 per cent, ranking fourth among the middle-income countries. The country has a system for regulating medical devices, it adds. The top five countries by projected sales revenue - China, Brazil, Mexico, India, and Turkey-account for 60 per cent of the total middle-income country market and 6 per cent of the world market, details the report. Out of more than 350 delegates, almost 22 were from India, mainly medical practitioners and technicians and members from the industry. However, hardly any bureaucrat or representative of the decision making bodies from India has showed up in the first global forum on medical devices, accuses industry sources.


"The meeting has raised several issues which were relevant to the medical devices segment in India. One of the objectives announced by the WHO to organise the meeting was to bring together the policy makers, professional organizations and major stakeholders to promote interdisciplinary partnerships for accessible medical devices. It is unfortunate that the government has not taken the issue seriously and send its representative to the forum," said Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AIMED).


(SOURCE : Chronicle Pharmabiz , Sept. 30 , 2010)