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Union Health Minister J P Nadda today urged public-funded institutions in the country to play a role in increasing manufacture of indigenous medical devices and equipment. Inaugurating the second 'Technology Conclave & Industry Meet' at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology here, he said many states were setting up Medtech Parks to encourage domestic entrepreneurs to start manufacturing medical devices and equipment. However, the growth of medical device industry is hampered by lack of adequate testing support for regulatory compliance, limited availability of manpower, lack of adequate industrial R&D, high cost and inaccessibility of imported technology, he said. "Public-funded institutions need to take up the role of catalyst and facilitator for increasing the share of indigenous manufacturing (of medical devices and equipment) from the current 25 per cent," he said. Quoting the figures, the Minister said the Indian medical devices market stood at Rs 24,000 crore and showed an impressive growth rate, at 12-15 per cent of the compound annual growth rate. "Unfortunately, 75 per cent of the demand is met through imports while the nascent domestic industry predominantly manufactures low-risk products," he said. With all the technological developments, advent of multinational corporations and upcoming regulatory policy, the medical devices industry is poised for tremendous growth, he said. The Minister pointed out that some of the technologies that call for immediate attention were low-cost diagnostic machines such as MRI, CT, cardiac catheterisation laboratories and Digital Subtraction Angiography machines. "The Central government is already funding a major project on indigenous MRI development," he said adding that there was a great need for research and clinical trials in regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, stem cell engineering, and gene therapy. Bio-chips and bio-sensors have to be developed for early diagnosis and monitoring of diseases, Nadda said. "Indigenous technology for production of low-cost, rapid diagnostic kits is a requirement that cannot wait," he added. The need of the hour is for a good, open, transparent and mutually beneficial partnership between research/academic institutions and universities with the government science agencies, he said. "This is the only way that drugs, diagnostics, vaccines and medical devices that are necessary can be made in India," the Minister added. He also hailed SCTIMST as a unique centre that amalgamates medical sciences and technology within a single institutional framework.
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