The Indian medical device industry is currently going through a regulatory reform. Himanshu Baid, MD, Polymedicure, talks about the business opportunities in this sector and shares his expectations from the government, in an interaction with Usha Sharma
The government plans to hold a meeting to resolve the issue related to banning imports of refurbished medical devices with extended warranty. What are your views on this?
Import of many critical equipment is on hold due to this new notification from Ministry of Environment and Forest. Refurbished equipment should be allowed to be imported, if original equipment manufacturers (OEM) guarantee the residual life of equipment. Utilisation of refurbished equipment at medical facilities in tier-II and tier-III cities will enhance the affordability.
At present, what is the size of Indian medical devices industry and what percentage of growth has been recorded in the last two to three years? What percentage of the market share has been captured by you?
The medical technology sector in India was valued at $7.5 billion in 2015 at end consumer prices. The Indian market is currently growing at a healthy CAGR of around 10-12 per cent, significantly higher than global industry growth of four to six per cent. The Indian medical devices industry estimates indicate a much larger potential to grow at 28 per cent to $50 billion by 2025 with policy framework and ecosystem support from the Government of India. This growth is expected to be driven by indigenous manufacturing and exports and, sales from local innovation. Polymed have approximately four to five per cent share in the Indian Red Tech market for FY 2015-16.
Do you see opportunities for the Indian medical device industry to expand in other Asian and African markets? What support is the government offering in this regard?
Yes, India has the potential for global market opportunity for innovative and cost-effective medical devices especially in the Asian and African markets. With an enabling policy framework and ecosystem as well as support from the government, India can be a global medical devices hub. There is a huge opportunity for the Indian medical devices manufacturers. We expect four per cent Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) waiver of Additional Duty of Customs (ADC) for exports, waiver of brand approval for exports.
Tell us what efforts have been already taken to boost the Indian medical devices industry?
Several positive initiatives have been taken by the government recently for example, medical devices are included in the ‘Make in India’ initiative, which will drive indigenous manufacturing. The government has opened up 100 per cent FDI through automatic route, which is attracting more investment in the medical devices sector. There has been correction in inverted duty structure in January 2016 through notification no 5/2016 to help local manufactures import duty on raw material reduced to 2.5 per cent from earlier 10 per cent. The ground work has already started for two medical devices park in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Moreover, NIPER Ahmedabad plans to provide testing facilities to medical devices industry. Launch of SUGAM portal by CDSCO for e-Filing of documents is another move, which considerably reduces time to file documents. Separate medical device bill is a long outstanding demand from the industry. The government recently published the Draft Medical Devices Rules to invite comments from stakeholders, which is expected to be tabled in the Winter Session of the Parliament. The National Medical Devices Policy will offer benefits to local manufacturers, directly subsidise various local businesses and offer preferential tax treatment.
What are your company’s ongoing activities?
Our new research and development centre at Faridabad is ready for operations. This will double our current infrastructure and add 15-20 qualified dedicated research staff. The state-of-the-art software will help us to create new generation medical devices. Based on the efforts of our existing research and development division, we have been successfully granted 144 products and process patents globally and have also filed for grant of an additional 394 patents in India and worldwide.
How many news products are in the pipeline?
We have a diversified product portfolio with over 100 varieties of disposable medical devices in product verticals of infusion therapy, central venous access catheters, anaesthesia, blood management and blood collection, urology, surgery and wound drainage, gastroenterology and dialysis and certain veterinary disposable devices. We have also developed a number of safety medical devices across product lines. With our existing product offering of safety medical devices in various product lines and our increasing focus on developing such products in the future, we believe that we are well-positioned to benefit from increasing private and public investment in healthcare and growing demand for quality healthcare.
Presently, how strong is your international presence and are there any plans to expand it?
Our exports contribute around 70 per cent of our revenue during FY 2015-16. We export our products to over 90+ countries in Europe, South-East Asia, the Middle East, South and Central America and Africa through over 150 distributors in these jurisdictions.
Our international market expansion plans includes: Increase the basket of products with existing customers, organise training programmes for global distributors, more participation in various conferences and exhibitions and appointment of representatives in key markets.
Tell us about your corporate plans for current as well as the next financial year.
Through our new investment of Rs 60 crore in the green field project at IMT Faridabad in Haryana, which is likely to be commissioned in third quarter of 2017 with all statutory approvals, we will significantly broaden our existing manufacturing facilities to tap on new market opportunities. This will enhance our journey to capitalise on the growth opportunities in the medical devices sector and also to expand our product offerings by introducing a slew of products. We are introducing new products in oncology, nephrology and respiratory care. Our domestic sales and marketing future plans include vast brand awareness and product training campaigns by our existing 190+ sales team, where medical education programmes in key hospitals in the country will be conducted. We are also planning to double our sales team strength in the next three years to reach out 6000+ hospitals across India. We believe that enhancing our manufacturing capabilities and further diversifying our product portfolio will enable us to capitalise on expected growth opportunities in this sector and increase our market share in the domestic and international markets. We intend to continue our initiatives on innovation and greater manufacturing excellence to create better awareness of products and pass on the benefits of cost savings to our stakeholders including patients.