India has the third largest GDP in Asia, behind China and Japan. Per capita GDP remains relatively low, however, at around US$1,488 in 2013. Economic growth hit a decade-low of 5.0% in 2012, but growth rates are expected to gradually pick up reaching 5.5% in 2013 and 6.0% in 2014. BMI is forecasting average real GDP expansion of 6.4% per annum over the next five years, driven, ultimately, by the Indian consumer. However, per capita income will remain less than a third that of China's at US$2,435 in 2018.
The private sector is the dominant healthcare provider, particularly in urban areas, and as such is the major end-user of medical equipment. High quality, high tech products are sought after, particularly by facilities run by corporate groups such as Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Healthcare. An estimated 95% of all new hospital beds created in recent years have been in the private sector and future increased demand for medical equipment and supplies is likely to continue to come mainly from private sector hospitals and medical centres.
Health insurance uptake remains low; private health insurance funds less than 5.0% of private health spending and only around 3.2% of total health expenditure. Since 2008, the government has funded a scheme to provide health insurance coverage for the very poor, which currently covers around 32mn families.
Detailed regulation of medical devices remains a work in progress. To date a number of implantable and sterile medical devices have been added to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, bringing them into regulatory control and new guidelines for sterile medical devices came into force on 1st March 2006. The government has been working on the revision of rules in recognition of the need to consider medical devices as a separate category. The new regulations were to have been published as the Drugs, Cosmetics and Medical Device bill in the winter 2012 parliamentary session, but doubt remains over the future of the bill amidst reports that it does not meet the requirements of the medical device industry in its present form. In the meantime, the medical device industry has called on the government to come up with an interim regulatory mechanism in the form of a guidance document.
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