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Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru September 30 , 2018
Union government needs to bring in medical devices sector as a separate department under Ministry of health and family welfare. This is because medical devices is co-related to healthcare, said Sunil Khurana, CEO and managing director, BPL Medical Technologies.

“Currently medical devices is clubbed with the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) and we are under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers. This is absurd because the medical devices sector is related to patient care. Therefore it should be under ministry of health and family welfare,” he added.

Sharing his views with Pharmabiz on the future prospects of indigenous medical device companies, Khurana said that Indian companies need to focus on exports to drive the much needed growth. Mere domestic market presence requires companies to be price sensitive and this mars the revenue margins, he said.

“Now going overseas, companies will need to compete in a market where stiff competition prevails and prove their mettle. Further the focus on exports allows the industry to achieve quality standards, seek certification and increase investments to spur growth,” he added.

“BPL too wants to be in this league. We want to ‘Make in India’ for the world. Although the developing markets have a higher percentage of growth, it is appropriate for companies like us to focus on Brazil, Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. Entering into these countries are lucrative because there is a significant government business. To tap this opportunity, companies also need to scout for a local partner”, he said.

In India the hospital supplies for medical equipment is based on the lowest tender. Here too BPL is going aggressive and just two months ago it received an order valued at Rs.25 crore from two state governments for critical care monitors, anesthesia machines besides ultrasounds.

India, due to its high population, has a huge demand for medical devices. It is here that mobile health-care and home healthcare business model come to the fore. Setting up a hospital is a high capex investment and cumbersome. It is here mobile healthcare and home healthcare have a larger role to play, Khurana stated.

The home healthcare along with mobile healthcare are perceived as the business models of the future. Particularly, home healthcare plays a pivotal role in reducing the time of stay at a hospital. Post operative care can be provided within the confines of the patient’s residence. Patients can also be monitored remotely with mobile healthcare apps, thereby ensuring effective care at a reduced cost, he said.

“While all of this is driven by innovative technologies, it is important to have effective regulations to enable such solutions do not create bottlenecks in the overall patient care. Now we are excited about the evolution of this space and keeping a close watch on the new technologies that are emerging,” said Khurana.

There a several key challenges too. Almost 80 percent of the medical devices are being imported and India with its qualified workforce needs to accelerate its manufacturing with robust R&D programs at the University levels which bring together technology and medical expertise on a single platform, added the BPL CEO and MD.

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