Economy, Business And Markets

Production of Rehab Equipment: Challenges, Opportunities

Production of Rehab Equipment: Challenges, OpportunitiesProduction of Rehab Equipment: Challenges, Opportunities

Iran’s sizable market for rehabilitation equipment and mobility aids is largely dominated by imports, with no serious competition among domestic producers mainly due to the inferior quality of their products.

“Imported rehabilitation devices constitute over 90% of the market,” Mahin Raees-Dana, an official with State Welfare Organization, was quoted as saying by the Persian daily Forsat-e Emrooz.

Lamenting lack of government support for domestic producers, she said Iranian producers’ portfolio is currently limited and lacks any competitive edge.

“For instance, there are more than 50 types of wheelchairs produced worldwide to meet the various needs of the elderly. In Iran, however, only two types are manufactured, the use of which is quite limited due to their outdated design,” she said.

In an interview with Financial Tribune, Leila Daneshvar, managing director of Kian Tajhiz Mehr Afarin Company, highlighted the need to invest in research and development to boost the quality of products and take advantage of an untapped market of nearly 20 million disabled and elderly people, whose demands for rehabilitation equipment are yet to be fully met.

“They mostly wait to see who produces what and what sells better, then they manufacture the same product with inferior quality and similar design and try to sell it cheaper, effectively saturating the market,” she said.

Daneshvar noted that foreign producers have never been domestic players’ competitors, due to the considerably higher prices of American, European and even Chinese products compared to their Iranian counterparts and the wide gap in quality.

“For potential investors and newcomers, a small workshop can be rented for as low as $450 and the production equipment for $8,500,” she said.

The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade has included investment in production of rehabilitation equipment and mobility aids for the elderly in its priority list for the new Iranian year (started March 20). This could translate into support for the industry players in the current year.