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Slowdown hits medical tool manufacturers

P B Jayakumar in Mumbai
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December 10, 2008 09:47 IST

The ongoing economic slowdown has affected the medical equipment manufacturers in the country as hospitals are postponing their instrument purchase plans.

"About 20 per cent of the industry's business has been affected in the last three-four months.

Fearing the slowdown, hospital managements suspended some of their new medical equipment purchase plans," said A Vaidheesh, managing director, Johnson & Johnson Medical, one of the largest medical equipment companies operating in India.

India's medical and hospital equipment industry, which consists of multinational players such as Siemens, Philips, Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare and home grown Medtronics, has an annual turnover of over Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion).

The industry has been growing at an average 10-12 per cent every year. About 50 per cent of the medical devices, which include laboratory equipment, cardio-vascular devices and surgical implants, are imported.

However, this phase will be temporary and the industry is likely to bounce back soon, Vaidheesh said on the sidelines of Confederation of Indian Industry's Health Insurance Summit 2008 in Mumbai on Tuesday.

"No orders have been cancelled, and we expect to get regular business within a few months when the liquidity crisis improves following the measures taken by the government and the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote]," he added.

He also said Johnson & Johnson Medical was not interested in acquiring the medical devices business of Larsen and Toubro (L&T). Philips, General Electric and Siemens are reportedly in the race for acquiring L&T Medical.

"Earlier, we were selling an electro surgical unit of L&T's medical division. That contract has been expired and we don't have any plans to acquire L&T Medical," he said.

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