Boosting Domestic Production of Medical Equipment

 Iran imports only those products that China exports to Europe or which the Chinese themselves use in the country.
 Iran imports only those products that China exports to Europe or which the Chinese themselves use in the country.

An estimated 60% of medical equipment is imported at an annual cost of $1.3 billion each year, according to the latest official figures.

“New technology is introduced on a regular basis and patients cannot be deprived of the advancements in medical technology which perforce has to be imported until it is available domestically,” said Mahmoud Biglar, director of the Medical Equipment Department at the Food and Drug Administration, ISNA reported.  

Medical technology encompasses a wide range of healthcare products and is used to diagnose, monitor or treat diseases or medical conditions.

Biglar, however, said that efforts should be made to decrease the volume of imported medical devices by promoting domestic production.

“A hundred medical devices have been identified whose manufacturing technology must be imported,” he said, adding that private investments in this field are welcome.  

Another policy to reduce foreign medical equipment relates to the ban on import of specific products after a certain number of years. Instead of equipment, trading companies will have to bring in the production technology.

Referring to the poor quality of Chinese medical products, the official said that all medical devices are inspected thoroughly before being allowed into the country.

Iran imports only those products that China exports to Europe or which the Chinese themselves use in the country.

“The products undergo strict inspection by a technical committee to see if they comply with global standards, after which they are introduced to the main committee for reexamination, where the first evaluation may be approved or rejected,” said Biglar.

“We do not deny that smuggled fake devices are traded in the market. At present, fake equipment comprise 15% to 20% of the medical market,” he said, expressing hope that with stringent plans to intensify supervision and monitoring, the figure could be reduced to minimum.

  Assembled in Iran

Some medical equipment is also imported in parts and assembled in Iran, which according to Biglar cuts the prices of preassembled products.

Nevertheless, the assembling process will be disallowed unless Iranian manufacturers produce 30% to 40% of the parts domestically within a three-year period. “Once the figure reaches 51%, the ‘Made in Iran’ tag will be on the device.”

Biglar stressed that Iran’s progress in manufacturing high-quality medical equipment has made it possible for the country to enter the export market. Several devices can compete with well-known global brands in terms of quality. Iran is also cooperating with international firms in manufacturing products jointly.

There are currently 650 knowledge-based companies producing medical equipment and their capacities should be utilized. All domestically produced devices conform to global standards and will not be licensed otherwise.

He urged doctors not to avoid using locally-made equipment stressing they are safe and can be used without harboring any doubts.

There are 590 medical equipment production units in the country with a combined annual turnover of $2 billion. Close to $29 million worth of medical equipment was exported mainly to Syria, Iraq, Germany, Belarus and the UAE in the last fiscal year that ended in March), the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran said.

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