AdvaMed releases new survey on medical technology devices, asks govt to streamline market

The medical devices association, AdvaMed wants the government to work towards harmonised regulations for the industry

The streamlining of regulations in the medical technologies vertical is what AdvaMed expects the government to do as soon as possible.

A new report by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) demonstrates the lack of awareness among consumers about medical devices.

The findings of a survey of 1300 Indians from across 17 states conducted by AdvaMed – an association of medical device manufacturers leading the effort to provide medical technology to the world – reveals that although an overwhelming 72% of respondents use medical devices, 89% say that they do not know enough about them.

“Our survey suggests that people in India don’t know enough about medical devices but want to know more. It is quite astounding that 60% of respondents think that medical devices are the same as pharmaceuticals,” Sanjay Banerjee, the Managing Director of Zimmer India,, and Chair of the AdvaMed India Working Group, said.

Interestingly, the survey also finds that although India is a price-conscious market, quality is an important consideration among the country’s growing middle class. It showed 75% of respondents believe that the quality of the medical device is important because the safety of the patient is paramount.

According to 72% of respondents using a high-quality device would help them avoid the costs of repeated hospitalization. Responding to this finding, AdvaMed Vice President, US-based Abby Pratt, said: “Unlike in the case of many other products in India where people unequivocally choose the cheapest option, this survey suggests that when it comes to advanced medical devices, quality becomes important because of its correlation to safety. It is noteworthy that 80% of respondents see a correlation between brand name and quality.

However, despite the prevalence of medical devices that the survey suggests, at a macro level, the industry constitutes only 5% of India’s US$ 60 billion healthcare industry. There is a major gap between medical devices currently used and what is required to address public health needs.

For example, in the case of diabetes, it is estimated that 93.75% of the Indian diabetic population remains undiagnosed or untreated. The situation is similar for other diseases: heart disease, cancer, glaucoma and so on remain undiagnosed and untreated because the benefits of medical devices like stents, MRI machines or intraocular lenses are not known to those suffering from them.

AdvaMed believes that the medical devices industry in India has the potential to fill these gaps. Reflecting the results of the survey, the Indian regulatory framework has also for years considered medical devices the same way as drugs. To AdvaMed’s relief, the Drugs & Cosmetics (Amendment) Bill 2013 which was introduced in Parliament last year, recognised medical devices as a crucial and distinct pillar of the healthcare system and created a robust regulatory framework for the medical devices sector.

Mr Banerjee said AdvaMed was hopeful the Modi government, under the stewardship of Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, would provide an enabling environment for the Bill to become law. “This law can help set the stage for the Indian medical devices industry to grow, innovate and ensure the highest standards of quality healthcare for all Indian patients,” Mr. Banerjee said.

AdvaMed has submitted a letter to the new Health Minister, urging collaborative discussions that will facilitate expeditious consideration of the Bill. Ms. Pratt said: “We believe that Dr. Vardhan’s expertise as a surgeon and health administrator will enable him to appreciate the significance of the medical device industry and its challenges. We are eager to fully participate in India’s effort to improve the quality of life for patients with non-communicable diseases and look forward to every opportunity the government might provide towards harmonised regulations for the industry.”

AdvaMed is also greatly encouraged by the Health Minister’s statements about stakeholder consultation and public-private collaboration. Mr. Banerjee commented, “The medical device industry is excited that the new Health Ministry wants to consult stakeholders, and looks forward to discussing the Bill with the government. We are expecting greater clarity from the new regime.”