Medical devices are increasingly becoming medical electronics. From commonly-used medical devices like thermometers, stethoscopes, blood pressure instruments to high-end devices are all becoming electronics. According to an estimate, the demand for medical electronics devices was around USD 1 Bn in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 6.5 Bn by 2020. Our global share is only 2% and in the coming years, there will be greater demand for medical electronics in the country for the following reasons:
• Greater awareness and increasing incomes leading to demand for new hospitals and number of beds, doctors and nurses
• Increasing use of technology (Telemedicine, Personal devices, Mobile based technologies, Imaging, Interventional)
• Imaging, Cardiology equipment restricted to larger hospitals
• Government programmes like NRHM providing technology at grassroots
Government provides medical electronics devices the same financial incentives for medical electronics devices which it provides for development of IT and telecom equipment. As a result, incentives like Modified SIPS, Electronic Manufacturing Clusters, EDF are available for the units investing in medical electronics devices. A major step taken by our Government was to allow 100% FDI through automatic route for manufacture of medical devices as early as January 2015. As a result of the incentives being offered by Government, several domestic and multinational companies have started their manufacturing activities in the country. These include GE, Philips, Wipro GE, Trivitron among others. (We have received 7 proposals involving Rs 754 cr under MSIPS for medical electronics). However, when compared this investment with overall investment attracted under electronics manufacturing in other sectors like mobile manufacturing, LED, consumer electronics etc, this sector require more efforts.
Make in India promotes not only manufacturing for domestic needs but also for global demand. Companies should take advantage of the incentives offered under MEIS scheme to export medical devices manufactured from India and Health Sector Skills Council to take advantage of this scheme for developing skilled manpower in the area of advanced medical electronics devices. Presently, the penetration of medical devices in India is very low, therefore, the government encourages the businesses, R&D institutions and academia to use innovation and new technology to bring down costs of technology and make it more accessible. Start Up India is a programme which encourages such innovation. MeitY, SAMEER and CDAC have also taken steps which will stimulate innovation in this sector. CDAC Trivandrum had developed a programmable digital hearing aid which could be offered at nearly one-tenth of market price (USD 100 as against USD 1000 in market) in 2012. Similarly, SAMEER Mumbai had developed a Linear Accelerator for radiation treatment of cancer patients. A Microwave Disinfectant has also been developed by SAMEER Mumabi. Medical electronics industry is undergoing transformation with the advent of Internet of Things. Wearables are emerging one of the fastest growing medical device segment. To support this effort, MeitY has, along with Nasscom, set up a Centre of Excellence at Bengaluru to provide an ecosystem of support for start-ups. One of the biggest concerns in medical electronics industry is the threat of cyber security. This area has been attracting the attention of global industry and turned out to be an opportunity for startups.