The outbreak of COVID-19 that was posing a threat to the supply of critical medicines is now posing a similar risk on the commonly-used medical devices such as digital thermometers, infrared thermometers, nebulizers, blood pressure monitors, and glucometers.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus has highly impacted the manufacturers of medical devices in India, who manufacture only 10-20% of the devices.
The country imports the key raw materials (mainly electronic parts) used for manufacturing the devices from regions like Hangzhou and Dongguan in China. And, with no signs of supplies replenishment the manufacturing assembly is likely to face closure from the end of March or April.
At present, hundreds of enquiries have been made for infrared and digital thermometers from the neighboring countries like South Korea, Singapore, Hong-Kong, China and even African Countries.
Amidst this scarcity, a section of the industry wants the government to stop the export of commonly used medical devices manufactured in India.
As per the data of the All India Manufacturers of Medical Devices (AiMeD), India along with Thailand and Malaysia shows complete dependency (100%) on China when it comes to the import of Examination gloves.
While for the import of Dialysis AVF Needles, Digital thermometer, Adhesive gauze bandage and hot water bag the dependency is 71-76%, 74-78%, 95% and 93-96% respectively.
Due to great dependency on disposable and consumables, several small to medium players in the unorganized sectors are affected adversely.
According to reports, with the rise of coronavirus, China is importing infrared thermometers from India at three-four times the earlier rate of INR 800-900. And the wholesale rate of digital thermometers has also doubled.
Earlier, the rates of masks peaked sky-high amid the sudden surge in demand after the outbreak.