Use of refurbished medical equipment may lead to dumping of e-waste: ExpertsPublish Date : Nov 05, 2016
VISAKHAPATNAM: Even as medical devices manufacturing is expected to take off in the next one year, industry sources said refurbished medical equipment may act as a counter initiative and could be a way to dump e-waste into the country by providing a cover of affordability. According to sources in the medical devices manufacturing sector, refurbished medical equipment could drain the country’s manufacturing capacities without benefitting patients.
No patient gets a cheaper care just because of being scanned or treated on a refurbished machine, according to the industry sources, who also mentioned that while entry of third-rate refurbished equipment benefit hospitals to maximise revenues with lower capital, patients are subjected to risky procedures on old machines and charged humongous fees.
For the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), selling such old- revamped machines would virtually quadruple profits due to sale of same machine multiple times, the sources said. Selling of replacement machines, to the customer in developed economies and pulling off the old ones under buy back leads to substantial increase in markets beyond borders as the replacement machinery costs much lesser with full re-sale potential.
While such machines do not undergo the transparent type approval process of regulators such as Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), safety remains a concern for consumers- patients and healthcare providers, the sources said.
Speaking to TOI, a senior radiology technologist said such refurbished machines bomb the doses. Elaborating, he said that by using refurbished equipment, there are higher chances of exposure of radiation beyond prescribed limits.
The economic impact of such imports are severe enough to scuffle the emerging medical devices manufacturing sector, observed Judish Raj, Vice-President (Planning) at Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone Limited. With no domestic medical device manufacturers being able to compete with refurbished machinery sellers, the mix-up in definition of manufacturers and traders seem to be adding complexity to the issue, believes Manish Gangal, Vice-President (Operations) at AMTZ.
With inter-ministerial task force now looking at limiting the import of selective refurbished medical equipment, the time may be right to see the limited use of re-furbished machines at least in the radiology segment, the sources said.
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