Kiran Mazumdar Shaw wants the Modi government to buy more ventilators — she’s even telling them where to shop and for how much

Biocon Chairperson and MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw addresses during a press conference to announce the upcoming event 'Bengaluru Tech Summit 2019', in Bengaluru.Photo) (

  • On March 21, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon India took to Twitter to urge the Indian government to procure ventilators produced by a Mysuru-based manufacturer, Skanray Technologies.
  • While Indian manufacturers are striving to meet the extensive global demand, Indians want the government to procure medical supplies, amid the C oronavirus outbreak.
  • According to the government statistics, India has already supplied 15 tonnes of medical aid — masks, gloves and other emergency equipment to China.
  • Skanray Technologies was in the limelight in late 2012, after its acquisition of L&T’s (Larsen & Toubro) medical equipment business — which had a 20 times higher turnover.
The spotlight is back on the 13-year medical devices maker, based in Mysuru, after industry icon Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s latest pitch to the Narendra Modi government.

On March 21, Shaw, the Chairperson & Managing Director, of pharmaceutical company Biocon, took to Twitter to urge the Indian government to procure ventilators produced by a Mysuru-based manufacturer, Skanray Technologies.

Skanray exports ventilators to Europe. “They can produce 5,000 (units) per month. GOI needs to procure these urgently. In fact, they could ramp up even more,” Shaw tweeted.
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However, she is not the only one pushing for more ventilators. “Infections need not result in mortality. We need to up our capacity in the next few weeks,” Samir Saran, President of the Indian think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF).


In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, auto manufacturer General Motors has announced that it will help produce the “much-needed” ventilators for treating COVID-19 patients, IANS reports.
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Skanray’s 13-year journey

Skanray was founded in 2007 by a team of 40 medical engineers who left their respective jobs to build high-frequency X-ray machines, ventilators and patient monitors. These devices were then sold at half the market value.

The company spent its initial six years in research and development of medical devices and its potential market — and launched commercially in 2011. It now claims to have over 100,000 device installations across the world. By 2017, it had joint ventures in the US, Mexico and Brazil, along with export agreements in Southeast Asia, Egypt, Middle East and North Africa.
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Vishwaprasad Alva, Founder of Skanray Technologies Facebook/SDMIMD

As of March 2019, its revenue stood at ₹220 crore ($31 million), according to its Founder Vishwaprasad Alva. Merely a sixth of the medical devices available globally are made in India — which is the fourth largest market in Asia after Japan, China and South Korea.

The entire Indian market for medical devices is dominated by global multinationals and trading companies. “MNCs really don’t want to manufacture here. It’s a real challenge. Even if I were the head of GE, I would think twice before manufacturing here because the supply chain is very tough. Making only for the Indian market is not very lucrative,” Alva said.

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Analysts predict the critical care ventilators market to grow at a CAGR of nearly 7% by 2023. It is projected to grow to $50 billion over the next five years.

Furthermore, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech announced a 5% health cess on import of medical equipment. “To give impetus to the domestic industry, and to generate a resource for health services, it is proposed to impose a nominal health cess of 5 percent on imports of specified medical equipment,” she said.

This may also turn out to be a booster for Skanray.

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The impact of Coronavirus

The outbreak of coronavirus has got people scared and cautious. And this has ramped up the need for face masks, sanitizers and other medical equipment to tackle the situation.

While Indian manufacturers are striving to meet the extensive global demand, Indians want the government to procure these medical supplies to help the country.

However, the country might still be short of resources to tackle the pandemic. “There is only so much ventilators can do when the patient leaks fluid from the blood vessels/has edema. There is more to the health system. Patients who get admitted for covid generally take up nearly two weeks of hospital resources and bed. There aren't enough resources.” said Neuroscientist Sumaiya Shaikh.
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According to the government statistics, India has already supplied 15 tonnes of medical aid — masks, gloves and other emergency equipment — to China, which was first hit with the disease. That accounts for a total of ₹2.11 crore.

“The medical supplies included one lakh surgical masks, five lakh pairs of surgical gloves, 75 pieces of infusion pumps, 30 pieces of enteral feeding pumps, 21 pieces of defibrillator and 4,000 pieces of N-95 masks,” V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs told the Lok Sabha.
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