A new report by KPMG in India and the Asia Pacific Medical Technology Association highlights the potential of India’s medical device sector to become a global leader and powerhouse. The report outlines the existing policies and initiatives that enable innovation in the sector, as well as the challenges and recommendations for addressing them.
The report notes that the Indian medical device sector, which is currently focused on manufacturing consumables and disposables, is projected to grow to a $50 billion sector by 2030 from $11 billion last year. The sector is undergoing a transition from being cost-driven to value-driven and innovation-driven, with the aim of achieving self-reliance, local innovation, and accessibility and affordability of medical devices across the population.
However, the report also identifies some barriers to local medical device innovation, such as a shortfall in skilled workforce, limits in infrastructure, and inadequate insurance coverage. To overcome these challenges, the report suggests that the government and the industry work together to create a conducive ecosystem for R&D and manufacturing of high-end medical devices that can meet the needs of the patients and offer sustainability.
Six themes to drive innovation in medical devices
The report identifies six key themes that will drive innovation in India’s medical device sector:
- Supportive regulations and policies: The report recommends that the upcoming Drugs, Medical Devices & Cosmetics Bill 2022 consider medical devices as independent of pharmaceutical products and cater to the nuances of the medical device sector. It also urges India to align with global norms and standards, simplify and streamline IP processes, and establish a strong monitoring mechanism to ensure prompt implementation of policies and initiatives.
- Incentivising research: The report suggests some areas that can be incentivised to promote research, such as tax incentives, research grants, workforce training, clinical trials, and patent box regimes.
- Robust digital infrastructure: The report advises India to promote the use of data for innovation without compromising the safety of sensitive data, adopt more digital health technologies, such as AI-driven diagnostics, telemedicine, and wearable devices, and allocate necessary funds for maintaining and expanding digital capabilities.
- Making public-private partnerships (PPP) mainstream: The report encourages manufacturers to leverage PPPs frequently, and the government to facilitate dialogue and partnerships between public-sector academia, healthcare providers and private-sector medical device players.
- Conducive ecosystem: The report emphasises the importance of dialogue between hospitals, manufacturers, and start-ups to spur the growth of medical devices in India. It also proposes that the government channel resources in a specific area of medical technology in medical device parks, that manufacturers highlight clinical evidence and publish results in industry journals, that investors explore innovative funding models, and that healthcare providers work closely with innovators to identify patient needs, evaluate solutions, and provide design inputs, as well as adopt and integrate their digital tools to create an interoperable ecosystem.
- Workforce upskilling and cross-skilling: The report advocates for industry-academia collaborations to upskill the workforce, and for organisations to train their employees on assembling high-end devices, and learn about R&D, product life cycle management and manufacturing.
A guide to navigating the transformation journey
The report aims to serve as a guide to stakeholders in navigating the transformation journey of the medical device sector. It showcases some best practices and case studies from India and other countries that have successfully fostered innovation in medical devices. It also provides a roadmap for the future of the sector, with a vision, mission, and strategic objectives for each stakeholder group.
The report concludes that collaboration among stakeholders is the key to unlocking the enormous potential of India’s medical device sector. It calls for a collective effort to create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem that can deliver quality, high-end medical devices that can improve the health outcomes and quality of life of millions of people in India and beyond.