The government of India is reportedly considering a 5% hike to the basic customs duty on imported medical devices, which make up 80% of its medtech market.
Medical device imports into India are hit with a tariff ranging from 5% to 10%, according to the Economic Times.
The proposed increase is designed to encourage India’s indigenous medical device manufacturing industry, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.
The Indian medical device industry, not surprisingly, is against the move, arguing that it would increase prices.
“Most of these devices that are imported are not being manufactured in India currently. Therefore, an increase in customs duty would not help manufacturing here, instead it may work against the government’s FDI policy," Poly Medicure managing director Himanshu Baid told the paper.
Late last year India relaxed its restrictions on direct foreign ownership of medical device companies as part of the push to cultivate manufacturing there.
Estimates for the size of the country’s medtech industry vary from $4 billion to $7 billion in annual sales. Earlier this week AdvaMed India working group chairman Sanjay Banerji predicted that the sector would hit $30 billion a decade from now.