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Ramesh Shankar
Thursday, May 4, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In yet another policy initiative to boost the sagging morale of the medical devices industry in the country, the Central government has approved the National Medical Devices Policy, 2023. The policy has a vision for accelerated growth path with a patient-centric approach and to emerge as the global leader in the manufacturing and innovation of medical devices by achieving 10-12 per cent share in the expanding global market over the next 25 years. The policy lays down a roadmap for accelerated growth of the medical devices sector to achieve the missions like access & universality, affordability, quality, patient centred & quality care, preventive & promotive health, security, research and innovation and skilled manpower. The policy envisages to promote Research & Development in India and complement the Central government’s proposed National Policy on R&D and Innovation in the Pharma-MedTech Sector in India. It also aims at establishing Centres of Excellence in academic and research institutions, innovation hubs, ‘plug and play’ infrastructures and support to startups. Under this policy, the medical devices sector will be facilitated and guided through a set of strategies that will cover six broad areas of policy interventions - regulatory streamlining, enabling infrastructure, facilitating R&D and innovation, attracting investment in the sector, human resources development, and brand positioning and awareness creation. To provide the much needed boost to the exports of medical devices from the country, the policy envisages the creation of a dedicated Export Promotion Council for the sector which will be an enabler to deal with various market access issues such as initiating studies and projects for learning from best global practices of manufacturing and skilling system so as to explore the feasibility of adapting such successful models in India, and promoting more forums to bring together various stakeholders for sharing knowledge and build strong networks across the sector.

Of course, the government deserves kudos for bringing out this policy which will put in place a comprehensive set of focus areas for growth of the medical devices sector in a coordinated manner. In view of the diversity and multi-disciplinary nature of the medical devices sector, the regulations, skilling and trade promotion of medical device industry are spread over several departments in the government both at the Centre and State levels. This has led to a need to bring together the range of interventions in a coherent manner that would facilitate focused and efficient support and facilitation for the sector by the respective agencies. The National Medical Devices Policy, 2023 will facilitate an orderly growth of the medical devices sector to meet the public health objectives of access, affordability, quality and innovation. It is yet another positive that the policy turns the spotlight to R&D and development of skilled workforce in the sector. In addition to the R&D and innovation, skilling and upskilling of healthcare workers, augers well for patient-care and manpower exports. The policy is expected to help the medical devices sector grow from present US $11 billion to $50 billion by 2030. The policy will place the medical devices sector on an accelerated path of growth with a patient-centric approach to meet the evolving healthcare needs of patients. Under this policy, the medical devices sector is expected to realise its full potential, with the strategies like building an enabling ecosystem for manufacturing along with a focus on innovation, creating a robust and streamlined regulatory framework, providing support in training and capacity building programmes and promoting higher education to foster talent and skilled resources in line with the industry requirements. More importantly, the policy will help boost the local manufacturing to end the import dependency.


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