Deep diving into the role that small and medium enterprises(SMEs) can play in advancing the Indian MedTech industry, Wadhwani Foundation, Cyient, and Xynteo’s Vikaasa partnership published its latest report titled “Accelerating Innovation and scale-up of SMEs in MedTech”. The report highlights two separate strands of analysis: firstly, understanding the challenges and opportunities; secondly, a proposal for recommendations and the way forward to accelerate the adoption of MedTech innovations in public health.
In September 2021, Wadhwani Foundation, Cyient, and Xynteo’s Vikaasa announced a partnership to support and accelerate the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the healthcare sector. Marking a step in the right direction, the position paper aims to capture SMEs' need for collaborative platforms and policy transformations to enhance the domestic manufacturing of medical devices and reduce import dependence.
Commenting on the report, Samir Sathe, EVP, Wadhwani Advantage said “Wadhwani Foundation is excited to partner with Xynteo’s Vikaasa and Cyient to provide a pathway to create an evolved domestic medical devices industry. With the right support from Government, both at the Central and State level, Healthcare SMEs can leverage the Atmanirbhar campaign to become the leader in the MedTech space by leveraging technology and developing a collaborative mindset.”
The paper brings to the fore impact of unclear regulations as one of the biggest impediments to the success of the Medtech industry in India as well as identifies critical gaps as articulated by varied stakeholders around regulations and standards, expanding scale, and adoption of innovations and talent development. Interestingly, the study revealed that only 37 types of medical equipment are regulated in India. At the same time, the market remains flooded with low-cost imports with very high trading margins and long credit periods. Impacting the Indian market, thus reducing the competitiveness of Indian medical devices companies and increasing instances of counterfeit.
Krishna Bodanapu, Managing Director & CEO at Cyient, said, “With its skilled workforce, innovative mindset, and real-world experience, India is poised to become a global player in MedTech. SMEs are future growth engines and are large contributors to employment generation. Supporting the SMEs and enabling them with a go-to-market strategy will enhance the nation’s economic prospects. We are proud to be a partner and look forward to enhanced collaboration with multiple stakeholders enabling India to become a MedTech hub for the world.”
Today, Medtech SMEs account for 60-70 percent of the Indian medical device industry, with an estimated 750-800 MedTech SMEs actively operating in this field. To become a $5 Trillion economy by 2024-25, the study highlights the critical roles of the Central and State governments in building a collaborative mindset across the industry. The paper suggests some policy recommendations including a scheme for the creation of medical devices park, production-linked incentives plans for medical technology and diagnostics, a regulatory roadmap for bringing in all medical devices under the ambit of regulation as well as industry-agnostic support measures for small and medium enterprises to support the growth of the medical devices industry.
The paper highlights the need for Indian medical technology companies to generate enough clinical evidence about their products coupled with peer-reviewed journals, in absence of which, hospitals are unlikely to procure the same for use in their facilities. Indian companies need to invest more in the training of their employees – in sales, marketing, demonstrations, clinical support, hardware repairs, software troubleshooting, regulatory pathways, etc. Initiatives like the International Biomedical Skills Consortium help Indian companies enhance the skills of their employees coupled with Government support through the Health Sector Skills Development Council which can help Indian companies enhance the skills of their employees.
Additionally, there is a need to support market access and scale-up in the form of concessions/ preferential uptake for innovative products and solutions of Indian MedTech companies during procurement, promote mandate digitizing hospital infrastructure and systems so that data from public hospitals can be made available to stakeholders and strengthen infrastructure.
Vipul Kumar, Director, Xynteo’s Vikaasa, said, “As MedTech companies look to the future, they must now fundamentally reimagine their systems, patient journeys, interfaces, and relationships with healthcare providers. This report is a step forward in establishing that with partnerships geared toward speed and efficiency, a systems change approach, and scaling innovations to deliver meaningful changes, the Medtech SMEs can accomplish India's vision of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat.”
To develop the most promising and impactful deployments for the last mile, the industry will have to build new growth models that focus on partnerships between companies, governments, and researchers and transform regulatory paths and policy support to boost the MedTech industry's growth in India.