India is among the top five countries in the world manufacturing life-saving high risk medical devices, but the cost of its devices is about one-third of those manufactured by the other four countries.
India is among the top five countries in the world manufacturing life-saving high risk medical devices, but the cost of its devices is about one-third of those manufactured by the other four countries, according to Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Jitendra Singh, during his address at the inauguration of the Combined Devices Block at Chitra Triunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology.
“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,” said Dr. Singh. He added that 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi to become self-reliant in medical devices as well as medical management.
Dr. Singh pointed out that it was Modi who notified Medical Devices Rules in 2017 in conformity with Global Harmonization 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 availability of better medical devices for patient care and safety.
“The Combined Devices Block at Chitra Institute is a perfect example of convergence of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and this must be institutionalized,” said Dr. Singh 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. 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. This is the only Institute which 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.
The Institute has been focusing on the development of medical device technologies which are at par with any product available internationally, with respect to their quality and functional efficacy, while at the same time ensuring that these products are made available to the Indian patients at an affordable cost, according to Dr. Singh. He said various products like heart valve, oxygenators, blood bag, hydrocephalus shunt, orthopedic and dental materials, to name a few, 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 the societal needs, especially looking at the needs of the under-privileged.
Dwelling on the synergy concept and Integrated Approach of Modi, Dr. 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.
Dr. Singh added that 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 public and private sectors. He gave the example of Technology Development Board of DST and Bharat Biotech to form a ₹400 Crores Corpus Fund with equal contribution by both to support startups in vaccine manufacturing and other medical ventures. The minister pointed out that DNA vaccine produced by the Department of Biotechnology was later used effectively by private sector and this is the essence of Integrated Approach.
According to Dr. Singh, 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.
Dr. Sanjay Bihari, Director of the Chitra Tribunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology, said 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 USA and Therapeutics Goods Administration in Australia.