How Does India's High Imports Of Medical Devices Hurting Its Potential?

19 August 2022
India Imports Of Medical Devices

India's medical devices import has considerably lowered in the previous year. The imports of medical devices (Heading 9018) amounted to $1.8 billion in 2019, dropping significantly in the next year by 17.4% ($314.8 million) with total imports amounting to $1.49 billion.


Though the imports in 2020 were due to the pandemic, the year 2021 recorded a significant rise in the number of imports of medical devices in India. The imports of medical devices are hurting the indigenous manufacture of the commodities, and trade figures will reveal how.

 


Medical Devices Market and Industry


Medical devices market is a significant market in the trend, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Due to the rising demand for many kinds of medical devices, the industry not only paced up but also picked up, in numbers.

 

Medical devices come in different forms according to their own distinct applications and feature, namely ultrasound machines, x-ray machines, life-supporting devices such as pacemakers, surgery needles, and other similar instruments and apparatus designed specifically for medical procedures.

 

The USA stands at the highest position in the market with a market value standing at an estimated value of $176 billion in 2020, expected to grow at a CAGR of 5% from 2021 to 2025. The US is also the top supplier of medical devices in the world.

 


India Top Medical Devices Trade And Comparison


India’s top imports in medical devices on the basis of HS Code classification for the tariff line are shown below. The top imports feature the most imported medical devices in India in 2021. The total imports of these top 10 commodities amount to a total import value of $4.51 billion.



India's Top Medical Devices Import (2021)

Commodity

Value USD Million

Ozone & Oxygen Therapy, or Respiration Apparatus

883.14

Measuring or Checking Instruments & Appliances

879.91

Automatic Regulating or Controlling Instruments and Apparatus

575.67

Instruments and Appliances Used in Medical, Surgical, Dental or Veterinary Sciences

392.97

Instruments and Apparatus For Physical or Chemical Analysis

376.69

Microtomes; Parts & Accessories For Physical or Chemical Analysis

336.15

General Parts & Accessories For X-Ray Generators Other Than X-Ray Tubes

301.21

Chromatographs and Electrophoresis Instruments

276.93

Oxygen Therapy Apparatus

260.91

Needles, Catheters, Cannulae, and Other Instruments & Apparatus

233.32



India’s top exports in medical devices for the HS Code classification on the tariff line basis is shown below. The top exports feature the most exported commodities by India for 2021. The featured top 10 exported medical devices by India amount to a total export value of $3.58 billion.


 

 


India’s Medical Device Trade Comparison – X-Ray


For x-ray machines trade, India’s imports and exports comparison done below shows the quarterly values for trade figures. The time period follows the first quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022. HS Code classification for x-ray is Heading 9022.


 


The imports and exports for x-ray machines and its equipment related to India shows slightly higher imports than exports. While imports in 2021 amounted to $832.68 million, exports amounted to $356.08 million in 2021, showing a difference of $476.59 million (57.24%).


 

India’s Medical Device Trade Comparison – Ultrasound


India’s trade for ultrasound machines is shown below as a comparison between imports and exports with quarterly values. The time period for the following shown table follows the first quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022. HS Code classification is Subheading 901812.


 


The imports and exports for ultrasound machines and its equipment of India shows higher imports than exports too. While imports in 2021 amounted to $202.39 million, exports amounted to $51.94 million for the same period, showing a difference of $150.45 million (74.33%).

 


India’s Medical Device Trade Comparison – Syringe


India’s trade in imports and exports for syringes as a comparison is shown below with respective import and export values on a quarterly basis. The time period ranges from the first quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2022. HS Code classification is Subheading 901831.


 


India's Syringe Imports and Exports Comparison – Quarterly

Quarter

Imports

Exports

Q1-2021

14.65

14.74

Q2-2021

25.64

13.04

Q3-2021

22.22

14.63

Q4-2021

31.62

11.41

Q1-2022

31.21

17.13

Q2-2022

27.05

17.98

 

Value USD Million


The import and export values for syringe and similar instruments shows a higher worth of imports than exports in 2021. While the total import value in 2021 amounted to $94.15 million, the total export value amounted to $53.84 million, with a difference of $40.30 million (42.81%).


 

India’s Medical Device Trade Comparison – Pacemaker


India’s trade for pacemaker devices is shown below with respect to representing a comparison between import and export values on a quarterly basis. The time period follows the first quarter of 2021 till the second quarter of 2022. HS Code classification is Subheading 902150.


 

The import and export value for pacemaker shows way higher imports than the exports, implying the reliance on pacemaker imports in the country. The total imports amounted to $39.90 million in 2021 and total exports amounted to a mere $880 thousand.


 

Conclusion Drawn


The imports are higher than the exports in each commodity’s trade, as shown in the tables above. The total imports and exports, along with the difference in values, are as follows:

 

     X-Ray

 

Total imports (2021) – $832.68 million

Total exports (2021) – $356.08 million

Total difference – $476.59 million

Increase in imports by 57.24%

 

     Ultrasound

 

Total imports (2021) – $202.39 million

Total exports (2021) – $51.94 million

Total difference – $150.45 million

Increase in imports by 74.33%

 

     Syringe

 

Total imports (2021) – $94.15 million

Total exports (2021) – $53.84 million

Total difference – $40.30 million

Increase in imports by 42.81%

 

     Pacemaker

 

Total imports (2021) – $39.90 million

Total exports (2021) – $880.95 thousand

Total difference – $39.02 million

Increase in imports by 97.79%

 

Along with these, the difference between the top 10 imported and exported products as shown in the above table is $929.90 million, with total imports, stood at $4.51 billion and total exports stood at $3.58 billion. Therefore, we know that India is importing more than exports in general.

 

However, the difference between the top 10 imports and exports for the medical devices of India gave the impression that India does not have a strong reliance on the commodities as it is also exporting, except it is the raw materials or parts of the medical devices mainly, not final products.

 

While the imports and exports comparison shows that the imports are higher than the exports for importing final products, the difference between imports and exports of 10 top commodities shows that India is exporting too in significant values to other countries, for the raw materials or parts of the devices.


The difference between these values indicates that India needs to build an assembly line to manufacture the whole final product individually and indigenous. Also, it is important to consider that not only imports of the finished goods for medical devices are hurting the potential of India to manufacture indigenous, but also marginalizing the chances to grow its exports.

 

India’s “Make-In-India”, famously known as the “Atmanirbhar” initiative, is escalating the industries of India to produce and manufacture the goods in the country, rather than importing from other countries. Right now, the manufacturing of medical devices seems to be working upon contracts with foreign companies and importing final products from foreign suppliers. However, if domestic manufacturers are encouraged to build the finished products, along with the government promoting and supporting the manufacturing by providing assistance in assembling the raw materials (or parts) of the medical devices, India will prosper in this sector soon.

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