DRAFT PRESS NOTE FROM AI-MED
We are pleased with some of the macro economic issues addressed by the budget. We are pleased that the Government has decided to abolish Fringe Benefit Taxes which was an unnecessary irritant and we are also pleased with the higher allocation of the budget for the Healthcare Sector especially with respect to the National Rural Healthcare Mission. India has got one of the lowest allocations to Healthcare as a percentage of the GDP in the world. For addressing the healthcare needs of ‘Aam Admi’ and of the rural masses who do not have access to quality private healthcare we need to strengthen the public healthcare in India at the Primary Healthcare and District Healthcare level. The fine print of Budget is still not available of how this money will be utilized whether for preventive healthcare (which is more cost effective in the long run) or will be used to fight fires, in corrective healthcare.
At our Medical Devices Industry segment level we are disappointed that our pre-budget presentations requesting a holistic development and regulation of focus of the Medical Device Industry have seemingly not been looked into. The Indian Medical Device Industry is currently mainly import dependent and needs special focus and infrastructure development status at least for the next 5 years. We have been requesting for abolishment of List 37 which is prevalent from many years (the current notification is from year 2002) and has a list of 111 life saving items. To encourage the indigenous development of these products by the domestic industry we had suggested to abolish this list. Otherwise India will continue to be 100% import dependent as before in these products. We understand that the budget has added certain medical devices related to heart care to be exempted from Custom Duty. While this will definitely benefit the consumers in short term, India is losing in long term. Either the similar exemptions should be made available for all our raw-materials and inputs and subsidy support available on the cost of expensive R&D and the highly capital intensive equipment required for the Medical Device Industry or the multinational companies will continue to import and sell in India other than be motivated to produce these items in India. Similarly the Indian indigenous industry will not get motivation to produce any of these Devices falling under this current list which comes in NIL or 5% rate of duty. How can you make a product in India with the imported components and expensive machinery and make it cheaper than these imports. The custom duty needs to be rationalized for manufacturing these devices as has been done for the other medical devices to enable the growth of the Medical Device Industry and to have its place in the sun like Indian Pharmaceutical Industry.
The Indian Medical Devices manufacturing industry comprises over 700 manufacturers producing a range of products which includes Medical Disposables, Medical Diagnostic, Medical Electronics and Medical Equipments and Implants.
AIMED (Association of Indian Medical Device Industry) is an Umbrella Association of Indian Manufacturers of Medical Devices covering all types of Medical Devices including consumables, disposables, equipments or diagnostics representing the interest of over 150 Manufacturers of Medical Devices to cover issues and address the manufacturer’s problem.