The government on Saturday decided to lift a ban it had placed on the export of indigenous ventilators around four months ago as India has had few COVID-19 patients on ventilators.
A high-level group of ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 agreed to a proposal by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to allow the export of indigenously manufactured ventilators.
“The significant decision comes on the heels of India continuing to maintain a progressively declining low rate of case fatality of COVID-19 patients, which currently stands at 2.15 percent, which means that fewer numbers of active cases are on ventilators,” stated the health ministry in a release.
The decision comes a month after several representations by ventilator manufacturers and an association of medical device makers asking to be allowed to export these products.
Earlier this year, the government had placed an order for around 60,000 ventilators anticipating a huge need for the devices during the outbreak here. However, senior government officials earlier told The Indian Express that not more than 1,500-2,500 ventilators were in use across the country.
As on July 31, only 0.22 percent of the active cases were on ventilators across the country, according to the ministry.
Yet, industry bodies and manufacturers had argued that they were not being allowed to export ventilators despite Public Sector Undertaking HLL communicating to them that it did not have any further directions to procure more ventilators.
“Now with the export of ventilators having been allowed, it is hoped that domestic ventilators would be in a position to find new markets in foreign countries,” stated the ministry, adding that there are more than 20 domestic ventilator manufacturers now compared with January.
Yet, some industry executives who spoke to The Indian Express on condition of anonymity said that demand for ventilators internationally has dimmed now compared with earlier this year, when various countries were stocking up to fight the pandemic.
The ban on ventilator exports had been imposed on March 24 “to ensure domestic availability to effectively fight COVID-19,” stated the Ministry.
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