Refurbished medical equipment
THIS is with reference to a news item (Oct 17) wherein the ministry of commerce has proposed to the prime minister to facilitate import of used products in the next three years’ trade policy framework.
The ministry has allowed unrestricted import of secondhand motorised wheelchairs and five-year-old ambulances.
These items may not be of great concern as they do not impose any danger of incorrect diagnosis. But the items which produce diagnostic results like CT scanners and MRI should not be allowed in secondhand or refurbished condition because the medical technology is advancing every day and our country, which already lags behind in the field of medical services, would lag further.
Moreover, the older diagnostic/medical imaging systems (CT scanner, MRI, colour Doppler, etc.) would not have the current software/hardware according to recent advancement in medical/clinical science.
So, many of the indications of some forthcoming/existing problem in the human body may be overlooked, thus providing wrong diagnosis resulting in some kind of danger to the patient’s life.
Unfortunately, a lot of medical diagnostic equipment is reportedly being imported over the years and many of the leading private sector hospitals, medical centres/clinics, etc., are buying older equipment to save the initial investment and simultaneously ignoring the fact that an important diagnosis could be missed.
For example, an old permanent magnet (PM) MRI cannot produce same image as of new PM MRI because its permanent magnet’s magnetic field deteriorates over the years. Hence, it may provide an inaccurate diagnosis. Therefore, I request all concerned to ban all the secondhand and refurbished diagnostic imaging equipment and make such items free from duty, income tax and sales tax so that users also have some incentive.
Besides, the overall ratio of medical equipment is much less as compared to other equipment. Therefore, the government would not lose much revenue due to its duty/income tax/sales tax-free import.
This will ensure a common man getting advanced dignostic facilities and help raise our medical standards.