Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh says Indian medical devices available at third of price quoted by peers

New Delhi: Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh has said, India is among the top five countries in the world manufacturing life-saving high-risk medical devices but the cost of our devices is about one-third of those manufactured by the other four countries.

Addressing the faculty and students after inaugurating the Combined Devices Block at Chitra Triunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology here, Dr Jitendra Singh said, technologies developed by the Institute like the artificial heart valve, hydrocephalus shunt, oxygenator, and drug-eluting intra uterine device are being manufactured in three to four countries like USA, Japan, Brazil, and China.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the world-class medical devices made indigenously are available to Indian patients at approximately one-fourth to one-third price of their imported counterparts. He underlined that this reflects the Atmanirbhar vision of PM Modi to become self-reliant in medical devices as well as medical management.

Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that it was Prime Minister Modi, who notified Medical Devices Rules in 2017 in conformity with the Global Harmonisation Task Force (GHTF) framework and conform to best international practices. The new Rules seek to remove regulatory bottlenecks to make in India, facilitate ease of doing business while ensuring the availability of better medical devices for patient care and safety.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Combined Devices Block at Chitra Institute is a perfect example of the convergence of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and this must be institutionalised. He said, the Institute is also a model of Medicines and Bio-Medicines, which is now being emulated by IITs and other prominent medical institutes.

Dr Jitendra Singh noted with pride that Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, is a prominent institution under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. This is the only Institute that brings biomedical research and development, high-quality clinical care, public health studies, and interventions as well as human resource development under a single institutional framework.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that this Institute has been focusing on the development of medical device technologies that are at par with any product available internationally, with respect to their quality and functional efficacy, at the same time ensuring that these products are made available to the Indian patients at an affordable cost. He said various products like heart valve, oxygenators, blood bag, hydrocephalus shunt, orthopaedic and dental materials, etc. have ensured that these are available to Indian patients at cost-effective and affordable prices. The Minister also lauded the Institute for its pivotal role of bridging its research with societal needs, especially looking at the needs of the underprivileged.

Dwelling on the synergy concept and Integrated Approach of Modi, Dr Jitendra Singh said, most of the technologies developed at Chitra Institute are transferred to private commercial enterprises and have been sustaining in the market for decades. Many projects for product development are fully funded by industrial establishments and both these are excellent examples of creating an environment for enhanced private participation in research and development, the Minister added.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, R&D for Ease of Living can become successful, only if the private industry becomes an equal stakeholder and invests in the project from the beginning. He said, this is also true for sustainable StartUps to have equal stake by both the Public and Private sectors. He gave the example of the Technology Development Board of DST and Bharat Biotech to form a ₹400 Crores Corpus Fund with an equal contribution by both to support Startups in vaccine manufacturing and other medical ventures. The Minister pointed out that the DNA vaccine produced by the Department of Biotechnology was later used effectively by the private sector and this is the essence of the Integrated Approach.

Dr Jitendra Singh said the Pandemic has taught us the virtues of holistic healthcare and even after the pandemic has passed, it will be in the interest of mankind and ailing humanity to institutionalise an integrated medicinal approach for adequate treatment and prevention of various diseases. He said, during COVID even the West started looking up to India in search of immunity-building techniques drawn from Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Unani, Yoga, Naturopathy and other oriental alternatives.

Dr Jitendra Singh was happy to note that the Institute is in the process of setting up a medical device park, MedSpark, as a joint initiative with the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, Government of Kerala. He said, new initiatives in the combination devices will definitely help the Institute to take up a more significant role in supporting the Indian Medical Device Industry for strengthening its indigenous capability.

Director of the Chitra Triunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology, Dr Sanjay Bihari said that the Institute has ensured that all testing activities related to medical devices are accredited to an international agency, COFRAC, from France. This helps to build the confidence of the clinical community for using the products. This has also helped many Indian medical device manufacturers to get their products certified from national and international regulators like the Drugs Controller General in India, CE marking, the Food and Drugs administration in the USA, and the Therapeutics Goods Administration in Australia.

Dr V. K Saraswat, Member, Health Niti Aayog, Dr Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, and several noted Doctors and medical professionals joined the inaugural event.

Read also: DCGI Classifies 48 Medical Devices Related To Oncology

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