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Should you be worried by India's proposed secondhand capital equipment import ban?

by Philip F. Jacobus, CEO | July 11, 2012
Proposed import ban doesn't
affect medical equipment -- for now.
A number of my Indian friends have brought to my attention some worrying news from their country: proposed regulations that could restrict the import of secondhand capital goods.

I spoke to Diana Upton at IAMERS, a trade group for third-party dealers and servicers, and she said the regulations, if they go through, don't apply to health care equipment. At least, not yet. For now, the rules apparently just cover machines over five years old that are used in construction or in textile manufacturing.

But Indian companies that import used medical equipment are worried that the rules will eventually cover them, too. If that happens, they fear it would be a death blow to their now thriving businesses.

Right now, some 21 countries restrict or outright forbid the import of used medical equipment, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's most recent (2008) guide on the matter. Even so, everyone knows that plenty of equipment's still shipped to these countries, one way or another.

I expect if India extends the ban to medical equipment, the market will also survive.

In the past, it's true, India was seen as a dumping ground for inexpensive medical goods. But now there's some costly, high-end equipment being shipped there.

For instance, I know of at least one company that has sent 20 CT scanners this year, and another that has sent three 1.5-Tesla MRIs.

From what I can see, the market for used equipment will remain active in India because it's important for the country. There are many Indian service companies and personnel, and the numbers grow every year. The country also experiences high demand for used equipment, because not all hospitals and clinics can afford new ones.

I really don't see the used market going away any time soon.

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About Phil Jacobus

Phil Jacobus has been involved in health care since 1977, when he visited China to sell equipment. He has done business in 35 countries and still travels extensively. Phil is active in charity, helps rural clinics and always tries to help DOTmed users when he can.

Phil is a member of AHRA, HFMA, AAMI and the Cryogenic Society of America. He has contributed to a number of magazines and journals and has addressed trade groups.

Phil's proudest achievement is that he has been happily married to his wife Barbara since 1989, who helped him found DOTmed in 1998.

Ben Quick

Proposed ban on preowned equipment in India

July 14, 2012 03:24

I agree with Phil Jacobus - Indian healthcare market's high demand for brand names at low price - is fed substantially by pre-owned equipment.

India is become a more mature market for high-end medical equipment and Indian manufacturing sector is not yet geared towards fulfilling that demand. Any ban on import of preowned equipment will not be practical and effective.

As Diana Upton, President of IAMERS pointed out -- this proposed ban in India is seen mostly for pre-owned manufacturing units which are being imported for mainly Energy and also textile and chemical production. India has restriction of import of equipment over 10 years old. This ban proposes that to be brought down to 5 years old.

Of course we must act on it by jointly responding to this initiative... All business people involved in preowned equipment should be concerned and work together and initiate dialogue with concerned government agencies in India - to keep this ban from being implemented.

An industry leader like DOTMED is creating awareness and I’m grateful for the same.
Organization like IAMERS should work with local organizations In India like PNMEIA ( Pre-owned and new medical equipment importers association) to present our view points to the appropriate ministry.

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