Impact of Coronavirus on medical devices

Even though some of the factories in China have restored operation, shortage of some 11 critical electronic parts and raw material still exists

Coronavirus, Medical devices, Indian economy, Chinese factories

The Indian economy has been experiencing significant slowdown over the past few quarters. In the third quarter of the current fiscal, the economy grew at a six-year low rate of 4.7%. Investment and consumption demand had been languishing and a number of stimulus measures have been taken to bring back the economy on a growth path. There was a strong hope of recovery in the last quarter of the current fiscal. However, the new coronavirus epidemic has made the recovery extremely difficult in the near to medium term. The outbreak has presented fresh challenges for the Indian economy now, causing severe disruptive impact on both demand and supply side elements which has the potential to derail India’s growth story.

India imports a variety of consumables, disposables and capital equipment including orthopaedic implants, gloves, syringes, bandages, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging devices from China.

Due to the current crisis in China, the medical device manufacturers across India are finding it difficult to source important raw materials and electronic components from Chinese factories. Even though some of the factories in China have restored operation, shortage of some 11 critical electronic parts and raw material still exists. This is adversely affecting the margins and profitability of Indian companies importing medical devices and small components to manufacture finished products. This can also put upward pressure on prices of medical devices in the short term.

Suggestions to tackle the crisis:

• Step up customs clearance for medical device imports. Special channels can be opened to speed up customs services and additional staff can be deputed to ensure imported supplies reach on time. • Ports in India may consider opening a green channel for emergency medical supplies to ensure the smooth transit of cargo

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