The medical devices market in India is showing promising signs of growth. Medtronic, a leader in medical technology, services, and solutions, started its operations in India in 1979. As the company celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its Indian operations, BE’s Saptarshi Deb spoke to Madan Krishnan, Vice President and Managing Director, India Medtronic Pvt. Ltd.
Q) How do you perceive the Indian medical devices market? Where would you place it globally?
A) The current size of the Indian medical devices industry is estimated to be around $5.2 billion, which is small and at a nascent stage compared to some of the other developed markets. One of the biggest challenges plaguing our economy is the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which mainly include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes that account for 60% of all deaths in the country. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health and World Economic Forum, NCDs will cost India approximately $2.3 trillion.
This means that while the medical devices market in several therapy areas is expected to expand, there is a need for solid foundational holistic approach to the policy framework. Medical technologies can bring in significant positive impact to the economy by improving access to care, decreasing morbidity and mortality, reducing long term complications of chronic diseases, reducing hospital admissions, length of stay, speeding up recovery, and increasing patient comfort. But all this requires motivation and policy boost for the industry to grow.
Q) Is there any specific policy you would want the newly formed government to undertake to improve the medical devices market?
A) Making public aware about diseases, promoting health seeking behaviour, building adequate and highly skilled-workforce in healthcare, improving healthcare facilities and infrastructure, and creating reimbursement mechanisms to cover healthcare needs of the citizens are some of the areas where the government can focus on through their policies.
Ayushman Bharat is a transformative healthcare initiative in India, which will strengthen primary healthcare centres so that people can access quality and affordable health services. It will also provide health protection cover to vulnerable families. This is a demonstration of the government’s commitment to improve healthcare access. It is estimated to benefit close to 500 million people in the country.
Q) Please tell us about your newly launched self-diagnostic solutions in the diabetics group?
A) Although India has one of the highest incidences of diabetes, diagnosis and monitoring remain a challenge. Monitoring sugar levels is a critical element of managing diabetes. Medtronic’s innovations in the space of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) and Insulin Pumps have transformed diabetes management. Our recently launched CGM is a technological breakthrough that will change the diabetes treatment landscape. It empowers the patient to take control in real-time and the physician to be fully-equipped with data and evidence.
The device has built-in mechanisms for sending out alerts predicting high and low blood sugars, 10 to 60 minutes in advance. These alerts pop up on the user’s smartphone as notifications, just like regular text messages. The device also includes features like remote monitoring alerts via text messages and a web app that can be accessed from any internet-connected device. For example, in juvenile diabetes, a parent can view their child’s CGM data and receive alerts for low and high measurements in real-time.
Q) Are there any specific innovations in the anvil for the cardiac and vascular group?
A) Earl Bakken, the late founder of Medtronic, etched the concept of meaningful innovation into everything at Medtronic. Meaningful innovation can come in many forms like a new feature to make a product more useful or a unique way to apply an evolving technology to a real-world problem. I would like to explain this with an example of a technology that is not in India but is expected to come soon. The TYRX™ Absorbable Antibacterial Envelope is the only fully absorbable antibacterial envelope available for cardiac implantable electronic devices including ICDs and pacemakers. It is designed to stabilise the device and help reduce the risk of infection and infection-related costs. This device is only intended to be used in conjunction with pacemakers and implantable defibrillators. Some of the other recently launched innovations in India in the cardiovascular space include the Avalus™ Bioprosthesis Pericardial Aortic Surgical Valve which is a next-generation aortic surgical valve from Medtronic, offering advanced design concepts and unique features for severe aortic stenosis patients who are candidates for open-heart surgery.
The Avalus valve is also the only stented surgical aortic valve in the market that is MRI-safe, enabling patients to undergo screening procedures for potential co-morbidities. The VenaSealTM closure system is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a proprietary medical adhesive to treat people suffering from the condition of venous reflux disease, commonly known as varicose veins. Traditionally, surgical stripping or heat-based treatment options are used. However, the VenaSeal™ closure system treats the diseased veins, without traditional heating or stripping the vein out of the leg.
Q) How far is big data analysis important in providing focused healthcare innovations?
A) Healthcare systems around the world are transitioning to new business models in order to improve patient care and operating efficiencies. In the developed markets, Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced algorithms, and predictive analytics are being applied with the use of data and analytics in preventing diseases, facilitating early detection and treatment of critically ill patients, in improving outcomes and providing value based care.
Q) As per your sales record in the Indian sub-continent, which are the most sought after products?
A) Some of our best performing technologies in India across our four business groups are - coronary stents, pacemakers, insulin pumps, neurosurgery products like drills, spinal implants, neurovascular coils, staplers, and renal care products.
Q) How do you ensure optimum patient safety and after sale service?
A) Our reputation is the result of our commitment to patient safety, transparency, compliance, and ethical business practices. Quality has been an integral part of our mission. With lives at stake, we at Medtronic take our responsibility for quality very seriously. To us, that means approaching quality holistically – not just with products but in everything we do, having comprehensive, closed-loop processes across the entire product lifecycle, being proactive – to prevent and uncover issues early, being collaborative – working with physicians who are closest to our products and processes and by being transparent – sharing our expectations and performance and with all our stakeholders, and raising awareness of potential issues early.
We have services like ‘Response Care’ that provide post implant patient care services through its network of certified technical consultants and/or the CareLink Network and have also created a toll-free line. After a patient has recovered from the implant procedure, post-implant device check-ups will help them return to routine.
These specialised services that are focused on optimising care through in clinic check-ups and remote monitoring are available at nominal charges and designed to provide high quality patient care which meets global standards
We have also launched the India Services and Repair (S&R) Center in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra and it will make Medtronic’s global expertise and quality standards available locally to cater to the rapidly growing healthcare needs of this dynamic market. In addition to climate-controlled quarantined workspaces, the centre hosts a ‘Technical Training Room’ for training and upskilling of service engineers. It has a dedicated customer care centre to attend customer calls and ensure adherence to service level agreements.