Effect of GST on medical devices Leave a comment

GST (Goods and Service Tax) is now the only single indirect tax for entire India and it has helped in eradicating many of the hurdles previously created by indirect taxes. The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in India in terms of both revenue and human resources. The GST is going to affect all the components of health care such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, insurance, diagnostics, and many more in various ways:

  1. Increased rates of medicines and surgeries
  2. Operational cost increased for eye lenses
  3. Increased rates of imported medicines, directly affecting the treatment cost of advanced cancer patients.
  4. Increased prices of supportive items like hot water bag, wheelchair, knee caps, etc.
  5. Dialysis cost of kidneys slashed up to 12% from 5%.

GST has impacted the growth of the healthcare industry, particularly the medical device sector.

Effect of GST levied on medical device

Medical devices are those apparatuses or instruments used for medical purposes like diagnosis, treatment, or investigations and include devices like pacemakers, syringes, and catheters to name a few.

The positive impact of GST on medical devices:

  • Under the new rules, medical devices are to be taxed at a rate of 12 percent. This has provided a benefit of one percent to the medical device sector as earlier GST levied was 13%. In the long run, this may help in reducing the overall cost of healthcare.

  • The negative impact of GST on medical devices:
  • The implementation of GST in 2017 has negatively impacted the MSME (micro small and medium enterprises) which dominate the production of medical devices in India as post-GST the import of medical devices has become much cheaper than before. They are predominantly involved in the production of medical devices in India. Today, the import of medical devices has become much cheaper than before. As opposed to the previous tax system importing medical devices has become a much more enticing option.
  • Statistics say that India imports more than 75% of its medical devices from foreign nations. If this continues, India will remain very much dependent on its import of medical devices and local manufacturing of medical devices will remain backward. Thus, resulting in a setback to the government plans of making India self-reliant.

  • The future of medical device manufacturing in India post-GST

    Specific steps need to be taken if India wants to meet its goal of providing affordable and good quality healthcare for two reasons:

    1. To encourage the domestic manufacturing of medical devices
    2. And reducing its dependence on imports.

    The following list can be prioritized to improve the same:

    1. There should be a regulatory law that can enhance the progress of India for exporting medical devices.
    2. Protection of consumers from rising prices of medical devices by encouraging ethical marketing practices and uniform pricing.
    3. Make in India initiative must be encouraged in the healthcare sector for manufacturing medical devices.

    All these steps will help to bring down the imports of medical devices and thus make them more affordable. Through effective measures, India has the potential to become one of the top five manufacturing hubs of medical devices across the globe.

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