DoP should be under Ministry of Health not Chemicals and Fertilizers: Parliamentary Panel
New Delhi: In order to resolve some of the major challenges being faced by the medical device manufacturers and to achieve better coordination, the Parliamentary Panel has recently recommended the Central Government that the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) should be brought under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that presently falls under the Ministry of Chemicals and...
New Delhi: In order to resolve some of the major challenges being faced by the medical device manufacturers and to achieve better coordination, the Parliamentary Panel has recently recommended the Central Government that the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) should be brought under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that presently falls under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
The department-related Parliamentary Committee for ministry of health and family welfare, in its report on 'Medical Devices: Regulation & Control' extensively examined the subject and identified key concern areas and challenges that are yet to be resolved.
It noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to support indigenous manufacturers of Medical Devices.
"The pandemic laid bare various issues like insufficient infrastructure and fund for research and development, lack of public funding for research, dearth of skilled manpower, lack of synergy between Central-State regulatory authorities, inappropriate regulations for medical devices, lack of global-level quality standards etc plaguing the medical device industry in India," it stated, adding that with the immense potential for the medical devices industry anticipated, the Ministry should focus on resolving the challenges and develop a detailed "Roadmap with Practical and Actionable Strategy".
The panel suggested, "The Committee believes that separate legislation exclusively for the Medical Devices and bringing the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would really help solve some of the major challenges being faced by the medical device manufacturers."
It felt that the mandate of the Department of Pharmaceuticals is very much related to the health sector like drugs & medical devices, their production, development, control, promotion, education, training and research.
"Hence, the Committee strongly feels that, for better coordination, the Department should be brought along with Department of Health and Family Welfare under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare from the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers by amending the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961," it averred.
The Committee further expressed concern over the fact that the highly technical medical devices industry, having no synergy with the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers is being promoted by them instead of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Committee, therefore, recommended that since the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the key stakeholder and the medical devices' being very diverse in range with respect to technology and material sciences, inter-ministry co-ordination is required between various departments, which should be done by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare only.
The Committee, accordingly, recommended that to nurture the nascent medical devices industry, the government should consider creation of a separate Department of Medical Devices for playing the role of a policy maker, facilitator as well as regulator.
It suggested that the new Department of Medical Devices can co-ordinate with the Ministries connected with the industry to perform the following key functions:-
i. Catalyze Growth of the Indian Medical Device Sector;
ii. Define Priority Devices to fight Priority Diseases in consultation with national and international bodies;
iii. Implement Strategy to Shift India's Import Dependency from around 80% to less than 30% in next 5 years for Priority Devices and Next 10 years for all Devices;
iv. Facilitate Creation and Development of clusters for Medical Devices;
v. Facilitate Creation of Laboratories and service centers under PPP;
vi. Facilitate Skill Development of Personnel in the field of manufacturing, sales, service and regulations of medical devices;
vii. Create a forum for close cooperation between user, developers, manufacturers and academia;
viii. Create and manage a Special Purpose Vehicle Fund for long gestation R&D projects under Made by India and Make for India projects for enterprises.
The Committee also opined that for a strong regulator it needs to be supported with required expertise from the backgrounds of Medical, Biomedical Engineering, Product Development and Marketing. It further recommends that there is utmost requirement of training programes for regulatory officials (both central and State level) as well as for industry persons for effective implementation of the rules and regulations.
It went on to say that developing skilled and trained manpower possessing technical know-how of the medical devices is essential for smooth implementation of the regulations and this could be done through long-term, short-term and crash courses on medical device manufacturing and quality control in institutes like IITs, NITs and medical colleges for new regulatory officers.
"The Ministry of Skill Development may also be requested to formulate courses related to medical devices, manufacturing, use and maintenance. There is a need for devising a mechanism to pre-empt exigencies and provision for "emergency use authorization" of medical devices in case of emergencies," it said.
"The Ministry should also lower high fee charged by notified medical devices testing laboratories like NIB particularly for Class C&D devices. The Committee observes that there is lack of coordination between academic institutions and industrial requirements. The Committee recommends that the innovators and scientists at research institutions should be made aware of the required standards and regulations, otherwise it's difficult to commercialize their innovation/creation." the panel added.
Farhat Nasim joined Medical Dialogue an Editor for the Business Section in 2017. She Covers all the updates in the Pharmaceutical field, Policy, Insurance, Business Healthcare, Medical News, Health News, Pharma News, Healthcare and Investment. She is a graduate of St.Xavier’s College Ranchi. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Contact no. 011-43720751