Medical devices start-ups in India are trying hard to make advanced technologies affordable
There is a new product that Dr Sheela CN, head of the obstetrics department at St. Johns Medical College Hospital in Bengaluru, is testing these days, and happily. The product detects foetal distress during childbirth.
"We are testing this device to see if it can help us (diagnose) high-risk problems during delivery earlier than the existing devices. That will help us intervene and prevent adverse effects on the baby," she said.
As per data from WHO, because of foetal distress going undetected, which it generally does because lack of affordable and accessible products, about 3 lakh foetus or children die in India every year.
The solution, one believes, lies with the dozens of laboratories and workspaces where start-ups such as Forus Health, Remidio and Sattva Medtech are developing advanced but user-friendly devices at affordable prices.
As of now, global giants dominate India's medical devices industry, but as an answer to them, some
India's medical devices industry has registered a growth of about 15 per cent annually and is expected to reach at least $25-30 billion (Rs 1.65-1.98 lakh crore) in the coming 10 years, says a report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India. However, the industry is uneven price-sensitive and constantly threatened by constraints such as erratic power supply, low doctor-patient ratio as well as the shortage of trained personnel who can handle complex devices.
It is also crucial for these start-ups to keep affordability and increased reach in mind while launching their products.
However, the journey promises to be uneven. "There is a huge backlog with the patent office, which often stifles innovation," said Siraj Dhanani, CEO at InnAccel, an accelerator focused on healthcare startups such as Coeo Labs. "The government should create a favourable regime for products that are designed and developed in India because these are specifically designed for the Indian market."
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