Indian Medical Device Manufacturers Push for Changes in Industry

A group of Indian medical device manufacturers are lobbying for the following: changes in the current duty structure on medical devices, currency stability, cheaper credit for exporters, and greater representation of their interests in a medical export council. In February 2010, the All India Medical Devices Industry (AIMED) wrote a letter to the commerce and industry minister of India proposing that either Pharmexcil (an organization representing pharmaceutical exporters) broaden its scope to include the interests of the medical device industry, or a new Medical Export Promotion Council be established.

Local medical device manufacturers also recommended that medical devices across all Indian states be subject to a standardized value added tax (VAT). This uniform tax could decrease the market distortions that are currently present in the medical device industry in India. In addition, they urged the government to stabilize the currency. Since the medical device industry in India is centered on exports, the local manufacturers are often vulnerable to currency fluctuations, which inhibit their ability to engage in long-term contracts. As such, the manufacturers claim that establishing a currency band could aid in stabilizing the Rupee and thus allay fears of overseas clients that are reluctant to enter into longer term agreements with Indian medical device makers because of currency instability.

Furthermore, the medical device manufacturers suggested that the government offer cheaper credit for exporters. Currently, China and Vietnam are two of many Asian countries that provide cheap credit to their exporters. The Indian manufacturers argued that cheaper credit would allow them to become more competitive in the industry.

Finally, the medical device manufacturers are lobbying for reform in the current duty system that appears to favor imports. For example, the current system places a greater duty on imports of finished medical device products than on imports of medical device parts. This duty concession applies to more than 100 types of medical devices and thus reduces the competitiveness and potential growth of the local medical device industry. Indian medical device manufacturers are urging the government for a correction of this system.

The medical device industry in India is estimated to be worth Rs 150 billion (US$3.4 billion). There are approximately 700 medical device manufactures in the industry, with local device makers focusing on low-value products such as needles and catheters. High-value medical products are often imported.

Ames Gross, president and founder of Pacific Bridge Medical (PBM), is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the Asian medical markets. In 2008, MD&DI (Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry) magazine named Gross one of the top 100 executives in the medical business. Gross founded PBM in 1988 and has helped hundreds of medical companies with business development and regulatory issues in Asia. He is a frequent contributor of articles on Asian medical issues for Clinica (UK), MD&DI (Los Angeles), and other medically oriented journals. Gross has been a featured speaker on the Asian medical markets at the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) shows, the Medtrade Home Health Care Exhibition, the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society’s annual and regional meetings, and a variety of other medically oriented meetings and conferences. Gross holds a BA, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University.