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Imported medical devices to come under lens

Joe C Mathew  |  New Delhi 

A government committee has decided to widen the ambit of its initial mandate and find ways to control the prices of imported medical devices.
The committee on price negotiations for patented drugs, constituted by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, was originally tasked with recommending a system of reducing prices of imported medicines.
At a recent meeting of the committee, comprising senior officials from the chemicals and health ministries, it was decided to initiate talks with representatives of the medical device industry in this regard.
The move comes in the backdrop of increasing role of medical devices in healthcare. The industry, considered to be worth $2 billion today, is estimated to be over $4 billion in next five years.
It should be noted that a Delhi-based NGO, Society for Economic and Social Studies (SESS), in a recent analysis of patent grants in India during the last two years, had found that Indian patent offices have granted 64 patents for medical devices.
According to Amit Sen Gupta of SESS, the large number of patents granted for medical devices has public health implications as such devices are increasingly forming a large proportion of treatment costs.
He also said that a perusal of these patents showed that the patent offices had not considered the three main criteria for granting a patent "" novelty, usefulness and application.
Official sources said the price negotiation committee also decided to have a nominee of the Indian patent office or the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion on board before it finalised its observations on the negotiation systems for patented medicines and medical devices.

First Published: Sat, December 29 2007. 00:00 IST
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