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Medical Technology Industry Should Unite To Leverage Growth Potential: Experts

The Indian medical devices industry which is growing at the rate of around 50 per cent per annum has immense opportunities to leverage in the near future, provided the stakeholders and the government meeting the existing challenges in unison, according to healthcare industry experts.

The industry members and the analysts in healthcare sector has took an account of the current opportunities and challenges in the medical technology industry in the MEDI Tech Summit 2009, an international conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Mumbai.

Even as the Rs 45 mn domestic medical devices market is currently growing at around 50 per cent per annum, most of the technology and high end devices are imported from foreign nations, informed Anand Rangachary, managing director, Frost & Sullivan - South Asia and Middle East. The government should support the domestic industry to strengthen their R&D operations and to bring in high end quality products through public private partnership (PPP) model, he suggested while presenting an overview report on the medical technology segment.

"There are different development models we can adopt for the growth, like service based model and pay per usage model for development of medical technology. The success of the industry depends on how we manage the business in the next four to five years," he added.

The healthcare industry will see a better growth in the future, with the growth of insurance sector, development of information technology and related services and new developments in pharmaceuticals sector to bring in cost effective, indigenous technologies for the patient population, said Sangita Reddy, executive director - operations, Apollo Group of Hospitals.

The industry should focus on partnership models including PPP to bring in newer technologies and methods. She also highlighted the need of bringing in innovative information technology services in the medical technology segment for improving effectiveness of quality.

"At present, the current system of growth is unsustainable and the budget allocations for healthcare segment are not enough. The industry should improve the conditions through partnership models and with the growth in insurance sector, IT and pharma, the healthcare industry will go through considerable changes in the next 10 to 15 years," said Reddy.

While delivering the special address in the Summit, Dr Laxman Prasad, advisor - Technology Development, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, invited the Indian medical devices industry to utilise the funds of the department for research and development of new technologies and methods.

The government has increased the support for R&D to the industry manifold in the past years. While the drugs and pharma budget was Rs 10 crore in 1994-95 (eighth five year Plan), it has increased to Rs 100 crore in 2008-09 and has also inculcated additional funds of Rs 40 crore grant-in-aid and Rs 60 crore for industry loans to support R&D operations.

The funds can also be utilised for medical devices industry to strengthen the domestic industry with newer technologies and methods, he added. The conference also discussed various issues and challenges in the medical technology sector. The conclusions of the discussions would be conveyed to the concerned government departments for future progress, informed A Vaideesh, chairman - CII MEDI Tech Summit 2009 and managing director, Johnson & Johnson Medical, India.

(Ref : Chronicle Pharmabiz dated April 11, 2009)

Pharmexcil To Set Up Panels For Various Export Segments, Plans Outsourcing Expertise

In an effort to further improve the services to ensure service to all the sectors of the Council, the Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) has decided to set up separate panels of experts for various segments related to pharmaceutical exports.

The council will set up panels for APIs & intermediates, pharmaceutical formulations, biotech & biological products, medical devices, surgicals, diagnostics & healthcare products, veterinary drugs, R&D, Clinical trials & pharmaceutical services, DGFT, customs and central excise and a panel for drug regulatory matters addressing both international and domestic systems. The number of panels can go further as per the requirement of the industry, according to Dr P V Appaji, executive director, Pharmexcil.

Besides, the council is also exploring options to outsource expertise from the best resources for the panel and industry. The consultants and private firms can register their name in the Pharmexcil website, so that its members can contact them directly for services.

"The panel will help the council to improve its services to the pharma exporters in the country. We will support the panels and the firms related to the segment to conduct seminars and workshops by allotting funds, in future," said Dr Appaji. The plans for outsourcing will help the companies to find right sources to solve their issues, he added.

The main functions of the panels would be to formulate activities for the growth of the sector, provide inputs and make suggestions to the council on various policy issues. The secretariat of the council would provide all necessary assistance to the panels. Each panel should also schedule their annual schedule and has to inform the council in advance for better organisation of projects. The council has invited the members in each segment to join the panels.

Once receiving the response from the interested members, the committee of administration will consider the situation and the process to set up panels will take almost two to three months. The members can avail services of experts and consultants even before official commissioning of panels, he added.

The council already has two expert panels under its administration, one for Ayush products and another for SMEs, which are actively working. Pharmexcil is also supporting its members in the patent related issues through its Patent Facilitation Centre, set up with the support of Department of Pharmaceuticals.

In the backdrop of the recent regulatory issues faced in Africa and Europe, and various relevant issues on certification and trade relations with foreign countries, the expansion of operations through setting up panels will help the council to address the issues effectively within limited timeframe, comments Dr Appaji.

(Ref : Chronicle Pharmabiz dated April 27, 2009)

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