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Critical Flaws in India's Medical Device Approval System

India's medical device sector plays a crucial role in healthcare delivery, but recent concerns have arisen regarding the regulation and approval of these vital products. While robust regulation is essential for ensuring patient safety and the quality of medical devices, flaws in the approval process have raised significant concerns. This article aims to shed light on some of the critical issues plaguing India's medical device approval system and their broader implications for society and the economy.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the Medical Device Regulatory and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any government agency, organization, or regulatory authority. The information provided is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, regulatory, or professional advice. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and consult with qualified professionals or legal experts for specific guidance related to medical device regulations and approvals. The article is intended to bring awareness among industry stakeholders and promote good practices. The Medical Device Regulatory shall not be held responsible for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions in the content, nor for any actions taken based on the information provided herein.

Now a days getting CE certification and 510K Approval is more easy than getting a manufacturing license in India, where CE certification and 510K applications are scrutinized based on the fact finding policy whereas CDSCO Application are scrutinized based on the fault finding policy

After conducting independent research and analyzing case studies involving over 100 stakeholders, it has been determined that the Indian government needs to address two critical issues:
  • Enhanced Compensation for Officials: The government should consider revising the pay scale for officials involved in the approval process. By offering competitive compensation, the government can attract and retain qualified professionals, thereby reducing the temptation for stakeholders to resort to bribery.
  • Transparent Review and Redressal Policy: Implementing a transparent and robust review and redressal policy is essential. This policy should outline clear procedures for stakeholders to address grievances and seek resolution. By ensuring transparency in the process, stakeholders will feel more confident in engaging with regulatory authorities and less inclined to resort to unethical practices.
  • Reframe the Regulatory Policy: The need for regulatory policy reframing in the medical device sector is imperative due to several pressing factors. Firstly, existing regulations often lack clarity, leading to ambiguity and inconsistency in compliance interpretation. This hampers manufacturers' ability to navigate the regulatory landscape efficiently. Secondly, outdated policies may not adequately address emerging technologies and novel medical devices, hindering innovation and market access. Moreover, regulatory processes may suffer from inefficiencies, causing delays in product approval and market entry, which can stifle industry growth and competitiveness. Therefore, the key needs for regulatory policy reframing include enhancing clarity and consistency, accommodating technological advancements, streamlining processes for efficiency, and fostering innovation while ensuring patient safety and product quality.
    • Make some policies or registration criteria or Regulate the Consultants involved in the Medical Device Industry
    • Also Need to regulate the Auditors Involved in the Medical Device Industry and retention criteria with Notified Bodies with strong redressal mechanism
The current situation often compels stakeholders to offer bribes to officials in exchange for expediting the approval process or obtaining favorable outcomes. This practice not only undermines the integrity of the regulatory system but also perpetuates a culture of corruption. In many cases, stakeholders find themselves in a situation where they find themselves more profitable by offering bribe rather than paying salary or hire staff for 6 month duration or till he get any reply, sometimes over 12 months, without any response from officials despite their efforts to comply with regulations.

Approval Criteria of Application: The current criteria and process for approving medical devices in India often lack clarity and consistency, leading to uncertainty among manufacturers and delays in market entry. Additionally, there is a lack of transparency in the decision-making process, with many stakeholders left in the dark about the status of their applications. This opacity hampers innovation and investment in the sector, ultimately affecting patient access to cutting-edge medical technologies.

Priority Case for Application: One of the glaring issues in India's medical device approval system is the inconsistent prioritization of applications. Essential and life-saving devices often languish in bureaucratic limbo, while less critical products receive expedited reviews. This prioritization disparity not only undermines patient care but also creates an uneven playing field for manufacturers, stifling competition and innovation in the sector.

Biased Reviews for Stakeholders: There are growing concerns about the potential for biased reviews or favoritism in the approval process, where certain stakeholders receive preferential treatment at the expense of others. This bias not only erodes trust in the regulatory system but also perpetuates inequalities within the industry. Such practices not only harm the credibility of regulatory agencies but also pose significant risks to patient safety and public health.

Impact on Society and Economy: The ramifications of India's flawed medical device approval system extend far beyond regulatory inefficiencies. Unemployment, corruption, malpractices, and the proliferation of substandard devices are all byproducts of this broken system. Patients are left vulnerable to the risks posed by inferior products, while healthcare providers struggle to deliver quality care amidst mounting challenges. Furthermore, the erosion of trust in the regulatory framework hampers investment and innovation, hindering the sector's potential to drive economic growth and development.

Recommendations for Improvement: Addressing the systemic issues in India's medical device approval system requires a multi-pronged approach. Policymakers must prioritize transparency, fairness, and efficiency in regulatory decision-making. Reforms to streamline the approval process, enhance stakeholder engagement, and strengthen regulatory oversight are urgently needed. Additionally, robust enforcement mechanisms and accountability measures should be put in place to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and address instances of misconduct.

Challenges in Indian Medical Device Regulatory Landscape


Current Practice

Needed Practice

Case Examples (Real time)

Regulatory Processes

Complex, time-consuming processes with bureaucratic hurdles

Streamlined processes with clear guidelines, reduced administrative burdens, and time-bound approval timelines

The regulatory approvals from State Licensing Authorities are not done as per the timelines stated by the Central Licensing authorities,

The State Licensing Authorities are working without any protocol giving approvals to any type of device and rejecting applications without any justifications, This is creating malpractices in market and those who are investing lot money on quality deprived of market opportunities

Harmonization with Global Standards

Misalignment with international standards

Alignment with globally recognized standards such as FDA and EMA to enhance competitiveness and market access

The Interpretation of Standards among the innovators and consultants creating chaos, also issuance of certificates without any valid mark, standards, and wrong use of certification i.e Those Laboratories who are approved under Calibration domain in NABL are issuing Test certificates of Safety and standards as because of they are approved under CDSCO and CDSCO accepting their reports, Despiet knowing the device requirements

Clarity on Classification and Definitions

Ambiguities in classification criteria and definitions, Consideration of device under the provisions

Clear and consistent classification criteria and definitions for easier regulatory pathway determination, Acceptance with Justification and provision for Innovator justification

The Confusion in Naming and considering as a medical device is a main dilemma under MDR, and this confusion led benefits of State Officials.

Capacity Building and Expertise

Limited regulatory expertise and capacity among stakeholders and each entity in the chain (LA, NB, Auditors, Professionals)

Investment in capacity building initiatives and training programs for enhanced regulatory expertise, Implementation of Special Control on Auditors and Redressal Mechanism for Innovators against (NB, Auditors, and LA)

The Consultants and Auditors also needed the Regulatory Control as they are most involved in the malpractices in India

Risk-Based Approach

Absence of a robust risk-based approach to regulatory assessment, No Audit or Inspection Criteria, No Reporting Criteria, No adherence to basic audit practices

Adoption of a risk-based approach focusing on higher-risk devices and a streamlined pathway for low-risk devices, Development of Criteria for Inspection and availability of report to Stakeholders, Reporting Criteria, Adaptation of Audit Principles

No Findings shared to the Stakeholder, Even a List of almost 100 NCs are shared after several request and NBs also show manufacturers in deep trouble even if it is the case then that manufacturer is not allowed to get license despite having so much non conformity

Transparency and Communication

Lack of transparency and ineffective communication, No response after several written communications

Enhanced transparency, clear guidance, timely feedback, and open channels of communication between regulators and innovators

No Transparencey NBs Do not listen to their auditors, everybody is focused on taking advance fees,

Infrastructure and Resources

Inadequate regulatory infrastructure and resources

Investment in regulatory infrastructure, staffing, training, and technological support, Creation of Databases

Clinical Data Requirements

Challenges in generating local clinical data

Collaboration for facilitating clinical studies, data collection, and ensuring availability of relevant clinical evidence

No Adequate reporting against the standards, the stakeholder is not aware about his requirement and labs issue report doing any one test from the standard and diplomatic words in report play vital role in keeping safe labs.

India's medical device sector holds immense promise for advancing healthcare outcomes and driving economic growth. However, without meaningful reforms to address the critical flaws in the approval system, this potential will remain unrealized. It is incumbent upon policymakers, regulators, industry stakeholders, and civil society to come together and enact the necessary changes to safeguard patient safety, foster innovation, and build a thriving medical device ecosystem for the benefit of all.

A Good Congratulations and Best of Luck to those Officers, Auditors and Industry Professionals working Honestly to make Healthcare Infrastructure better for India. If you see them Please praise them.

History teaches us that while the ruler of a country may not be corrupt, it is often the ministers who wield significant influence and power. Their decisions shape the course of governance, and unfortunately, corruption can seep into their actions. However, it's essential to acknowledge that not all rulers are virtuous; some may exercise cruelty in their rule.

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  1. Rightly Said, Every Government Officer sees opportunity with is work on his table

  2. They are acting like dictators, without money they are not moving files, now a days to hard to run a business and keep the staff for several months with huge pay, You Said well,

  3. Haryana FDA is most corrupted, infact on stage these people come and say we will work with honesty and help manufacturers but at ground level they are worse

  4. Atleast someone has raised his Voice, Its true, one more fact I would like to add in this that The Price is also increased because if we pay bribe and long term salary to staff without any business for several months we will add it in product cost ultimately making the Product Costly, and poor people have to pay just because of this bribe, we are business man we need profit by the greed is in blood of govt officials.

    1. Agreed Sir, Considering Bribe Amount as Cost makes the product effective price more costly

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