The last decade has witnessed rapid innovation in the medical devices market. Devices have become smaller and smarter, and more intricate components are increasingly in demand. There is now an increased demand for mobile technology including acute ventilators, portable anesthesia workstations, and intra-oral scanners.
Until now, the western world dominated medical technology, with the majority of intellectual property belonging to European and North American companies. Lately, there has been a power shift and the Asian market, specifically China, is booming, with growth expected to continue over the next few years.
2015 will see European and North American MedTech OEMs begin to establish a more permanent presence in Asian and Far Eastern economies, aiming to secure and win market share of the premium industry sector. Specifically for India, since demand is increasingly emanating from tier-II and tier-III cities and the industry is largely import dependent, global MedTech companies will need to do some research; feel the intrinsic pulse of the market; and incept, design, and develop new product solutions. The companies would strategize to include relocation of manufacturing and R&D units closer to the economy. This would go a long way to improve manufacturing efficiency, lower production costs, and develop affordable products that serve the local markets better.
Reverse innovation seems to be another option. This involves using the available technology as a starting point, and designing a new device, fully conceptualized, designed, sourced, and manufactured in India, drawing upon the requirements and input of local customers.
To address the price sensitivity of the Indian market, the approach of buyback, refurbishing, and reselling installed machines with a warranty is a common practice. This creates an additional revenue stream, at the same time generating demand for sale of newer models.
No longer does one-size-fit-all. The enduring lesson of the Indian market for MedTech has been reinforcing the necessity of factoring India's important differentiators along with its common traits into the business equation.