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Medical device importers ask govt to incentivize innovations for economies of scale for affordability

September 7, 2020

Medical device importers have urged the government to incentivize innovations towards economies of scale for their affordability to common man.

This comes close on the heels of the government’s plan to create a separate category for 'innovative' knee implants that can be kept out of price control to encourage innovations and research and development in line with the demand from implant manufacturers. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is currently deliberating on the ceiling costs of the knee implants as there have been calls from the trade to create a separate class for revolutionary implants.

Commenting on the move, Pavan Choudary, chairman, Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) said, “When innovations are incentivized, the entrepreneurs behind them get the fuel to scale. Once scale comes, prices come down and the innovation reaches the masses. Since the Innovator takes the risk and covers the R&D and deployment cost, he should be incentivized. So if the government is indeed thinking on these lines, it is surely the prudent and far-sighted way forward, which will benefit both the domestic and the global innovators.

He further added, “For example, sectors which, guided by the circumstance of their evolution could not offer a higher quality to the discerning customers, have lost market to competitors which could. The power industry has lost the customer who desired and could afford a more reliable power supply to the private captive power generators.”

NPPA had allowed companies to make 10% hike for their knee implant for their knee implants products last year.

However, Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) argued, “Earlier also clinically superior medical devices including knee implant could be kept outside of price capping if the claim of clinical superiority was proven by the innovation. We agree innovation needs to be incentivised but not on frivolous grounds purely on marketing claims.”

The national pricing regulator had brought knee implants under price control in 2017 and slashed prices by upto 70% by using extraordinary powers per DPCO -2013. Medical device importers have been unhappy with the price cap arguing that it dissuades R&D in this crucial segment. The move has upset many companies selling knee implant products which have been asking for some relaxation for a long time.

However, according to Malini Aisola from All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), “Categorizaton in price control for knee implants based on innovation is not justified.” As per DPCO- 2013, higher ceiling prices can be granted for products that can demonstrate and provide evidence of incremental benefits over existing products. It has been learnt from industry sources that none of the companies has been successful in getting an upward revision of ceiling price on the basis of their claims in terms of innovation or advancement.

This is not unusual, say some industry experts, keeping in mind that substantive innovations can sometimes take several years and the price control regime on implants in India is just a couple of years old.

Goa hopes to qualify for medical device park, appoints consultant

September 24, 2020

Panaji: The state cabinet on Wednesday approved the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for setting up of a medical device park at Verna.

Goa, along with Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh are trying to woo Japanese manufacturers with incentives to invest and manufacture bulk drugs and medical devices.

Goa’s industries department is in talks with the Centre to explore the possibility of setting up a manufacturing cluster for medical devices.

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