GST to allow easy access for medical devices

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Goods and Services Tax (GST) places medical device companies in a better position to transport its products to any part of the country. This would also help reduce warehouse and transportation costs, said Chander Shekhar Sibal, head, medical division, Fujifilm India.

Other steps in the right direction by the government are the notified Medical Devices Rules, 2017 to be enforced from January 1, 2018 to standardise the imported product manufacture and stop anti dumping. A concept like the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) at Visakhapatnam is seen to bolster the Make in India programme, he added.

The government has also initiated screening programmes and is keen to open cancer centres. It is here that Fujifilm will scout for collaborations to support the initiatives like mobile van for screening which would in turn help the company increase its marketing presence in tier 2 and tier 3 towns for radiology, Sibal told Pharmabiz.

With an intent to drive preventive healthcare, the government is looking to equip hospitals with technology. Digitization has improved workflow quality which increases efficiency in hospitals and advanced medical technology enables doctors to treat more patients.

In India, Fujifilm deals with radiology products which facilitates digitizing of x-rays to store and retrieve images. Its Image Intelligence ensures consistent high quality output of x -ray films and dry laser imagers. In addition. the company deals with endoscopy machines and point of care ultrasound: Sonosite. It is engaged with few Indian companies to integrate its Fujifilm technology in x- ray machines and its mobile MicroSkan DR is manufactured by the Mysuru-based Skanray, he added.

Its India focus is on digital mammography because of the rising incidence of 1.50 lakh new breast cancer patients and 50 percent succumbing to it. To spur early detection of breast cancer, the company has already supplied over 20 FFDM (Full filled digital mammography) across hospitals, medical colleges and diagnostic centres including Tata Memorial Hospital, Amulet Innovality at Batra hospital in Delhi, Tata ATREC, NM Medical in Mumbai, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai and Mahajan Imagimg. With over 25,000 installations, Fujifilm caters to almost 50% of the market here. Specific to digital radiology, it has around 400 systems installed in India accounting for 40% of market share.

According to Sibal, imaging technology is critical for India. With an acute shortage of radiologists to report images of CT scan, MRI, x-rays, there is a huge need for a tele radiology infrastructure. The present government spend on imaging technology is a mere 1.5% and needs to raise it to 2.5%. Electronic medical records and digitization would allow faster storage and retrieval of scanned images for speedy diagnosis. In tier 2 and tier 3 towns efforts for medical digitization are on. But most of the time, government projects are delayed, hampering public- private partnership

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