A KNEE REPLACEMENT surgery costs around Rs2.25 lakh, of which more than half the cost is that of the implant. Similarly, megaprosthesis implants used for limb salvage surgery¯a procedure commonly done on cancer patients to save the limb and to avoid amputation¯alone cost Rs5 to 7 lakh. The surgery will become much cheaper if we can bring down the cost of prosthetics.
“Many of my patients find it hard to afford the cost of these implants,” says Dr. Yash Gulati, Director, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi. “In government hospitals, they don't have to pay for their stay, medicines or surgical expenses. Still they have to bear the cost of the implant, as it is too high and the government cannot offer it for free.”
Gulati offers the Modi mantra of local manufacturing, and cites the example of the plates and screws used for fixing fractures, which used to be imported earlier. Now they are manufactured in India and more number of patients are able to afford them. “We export these plates and screws to other Asian countries and African countries,” says Gulati. “We can translate it to high-end orthopaedic implants and cardiac stent, too.”
Lack of research and collaboration is holding us back, says Gulati. China and Korea manufacture implants. American and German products are made in China. “We can also manufacture them in collaboration initially and then we can innovate,” he says. “If we can go to the moon and make ships and planes, why can't we manufacture implants?”
Link: The Week-Cover Story - Make in India