NATIONAL

COVID-19 hits medical tech firms

Sales down:Elective surgeries such as laser vision correction drive a large part of demand for medical devices.File photo

Sales down:Elective surgeries such as laser vision correction drive a large part of demand for medical devices.File photo  

The medical technology industry has suffered a 50-85% drop in revenue during April-June which saw a surge in COVID-19 pandemic across the world with suppliers to the cardiology, orthopaedic, ophthalmology and critical care sectors being the worst hit, noted an internal assessment by the Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), representing leading research-based medical technology companies.

Revenue loss

It said the industry suffered an estimated revenue downfall in the cardiology category of up to 60% in the first quarter of the financial year, while the orthopaedic industry devices encountered an even bigger fall up to 85% and the ophthalmology sector 75%. Even the critical care device segment fell to nearly half.

“Numerous financial and operational challenges in the wake of the pandemic has hit the industry hard,’’ it said.

The Association said as India started recording surge in the infection, elective procedures were postponed. “Elective surgeries drive a large part of the demand for medical devices and the postponement has severely impacted the revenue streams of the medtech industry. The COVID-19 has accentuated the problems of the sector that was already reeling with the impact of price control. The pandemic disrupted the global supply chains, while the cost of freight movement increased by 5-7 folds. These challenges have been compounded by the falling rupee value, high basic customs duty rate and the health cess on imported medical devices which has been imposed since February 2020,’’ said Pavan Choudary, chairman MTaI.

The sector is now seeking immediate intervention of the Central government to help them recover.

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