The Medical Technology Association of India (MTAI), a representative body of the domestic arms of global medical device makers, has expressed concern over the government move to cap the prices of cardiac stents.
"The government must not undercut the market dynamics. The control of stent prices in the manner it has been done, with a shocking reduction of prices may unfavourably skew the market for the patient and will affect adversely the business environment", an MTAI statement said.
The association called for a more comprehensive pricing and regulatory framework that looks beyond price caps to ensure quality healthcare coverage for all citizens.
Stating that MTAI stood for fair practices, it said the slew of measures has created an atmosphere of fear among the member companies. They complain that global medical device makers are 'mistakenly being looked upon as profiteering agents, forgetting the value they bring to the country'. "The global investments into India that the government has been keen on, would not be possible without taking into consideration the points raised by globally reputed and respected companies", an MTAI statement said.
The companies wanted the healthcare secto to be kept out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). "Currently, healthcare is exempted from service tax and a similar dispensation should continue even after implementation of the GST regime at least for 10 years", MTAI said. The industry group is also lobbying for single use guideline for medical devices to avoid its misuse. "It is a matter of huge concern that the medical products designed for single-use are being reused on patients, thus endangering human lives. The threat from clandestinely repackaged medical waste can hardly be underestimated. It is a huge menace to the health of Indian citizens", the association stated.
"With the lack of guidelines and action against non-adherence, such a public health menace is endangering lives of common citizenry of this nation. As a part of the Indian patient care ecosystem, it is our duty to raise this issue and seek remedies against this practice that put human lives at risk and bring our profession in to disrepute." Pavan Choudary, Director General MTAI said.
MTAI wanted the policymakers to realise the importance of global participation in the growth of domestic medical technology industry. "Medical technology innovation can never be always completely indigenous. It transcends the boundaries and for its free flow across the globe, any protectionism would not be a facilitator but will only sow seeds of doubt in the minds of global investors", the association pointed out.
On India's ambitious "Make In India" programme, MTAI said that one cannot manufacture high tech medical products in India without the help of the world. "Pushing make in India without global facilitation is likely to over crowd the lower end of the technology spectrum with manufacturing companies. This can congest that space and make native as well as global companies which are succeeding currently, fail".
It wanted the government to recognise the contribution of global medical devices companies, from market creation through healthcare worker training, to bringing technologies and FDI, to setting up R&D centers and having the deep Indian foot print in organised manufacturing across the country.