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Indian consumers lack awareness on medical devices: AdvaMed

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A survey of 1300 Indians from across 17 states conducted by AdvaMed – an association of medical device manufacturers leading the effort to provide medical technology to the world – reveals that although an overwhelming 72 percent of respondents use medical devices, 89 percent do not know enough about them.

Our survey suggests that people in India don’t know enough about medical devices but want to know more. It is quite astounding that 60 percent of respondents think that medical devices are the same as pharmaceuticals,” said Sanjay Banerjee, the Managing Director of Zimmer India and Chair of the AdvaMed India Working Group.

Interestingly, the survey also finds that although India is a price-conscious market, quality is an important consideration among the country’s growing middle class. It showed 75 percent of respondents believe that the quality of the medical device is important because the safety of the patient is paramount.

According to 72 percent of respondents using a high-quality device would help them avoid the costs of repeated hospitalisation. Responding to this finding, AdvaMed Vice President, US-based Abby Pratt, said, “Unlike in the case of many other products in India where people unequivocally choose the cheapest option, this survey suggests that when it comes to advanced medical devices, quality becomes important because of its correlation to safety. It is noteworthy that 80 percent of respondents see a correlation between brand name and quality.

However, despite the prevalence of medical devices that the survey suggests, at a macro level, the industry constitutes only 5 percent of India’s US$ 60 billion healthcare industry. There is a major gap between medical devices currently used and what is required to address public health needs.

For example, in the case of diabetes, it is estimated that 93.75 percent of the Indian diabetic population remains undiagnosed or untreated. The situation is similar for other diseases: heart disease, cancer, glaucoma and so on remain undiagnosed and untreated because the benefits of medical devices like stents, MRI machines or intraocular lenses are not known to those suffering from them.

AdvaMed believes that the medical devices industry in India has the potential to fill these gaps. Banerjee said AdvaMed was hopeful the Modi government, under the stewardship of Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, would provide an enabling environment for the Bill to become law. AdvaMed has submitted a letter to the new Health Minister, urging collaborative discussions that will facilitate expeditious consideration of the Bill.

EH News Bureau- Mumbai

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