The recent hike in customs duty on import of medical equipment and medical devices could adversely impact the affordability of healthcare, industry body FICCI said today.
The hike "in import duty of medical equipment and devices and the resultant cost implications on care provision are likely to affect affordability of medical care in the country," FICCI said.
Commenting on the development, FICCI Medical Devices Forum Chairman Probir Das said: "In light of Make in India's realisation and continued affordable healthcare access in the country, the increase in customs duties should be reviewed".
Manufacturing of high-end and complex equipment and devices such as MRIs, CTs and new generation heart valves require technology transfer, ecosystem for manufacturing all of which are time consuming, FICCI Medical Electronics Forum Chairman Milan Rao said.
"Hence, any such duty increase for technologically advanced equipment and devices must be introduced in a phased manner over 3-5 years," he added.
The move has already been opposed by Apex healthcare industry body NATHEALTH which said: "expressed serious concerns on the recent hike in customs duty on import of medical equipment and medical devices and its adverse impact on the overall healthcare ecosystem.
A recent notification issued by the government has banned
the import of medical technologies that are more than three years old, causing widespread concern among the industry, CII said in a statement.
Kumar said his ministry will set up an industry-government task force for accelerated growth of the medical devices industry.
Regarding development of medical device infrastructure in the country, he said the medical devices parks coming up in Andhra Pradesh would be game changer and said other states like Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra have also shown interest to set up such parks.
"We are ready to support medical technology parks," Kumar said, adding that this would reduce the manufacturing cost by 30 per cent.