The DoP issued a revised notice on the Public Procurement Order (PPO) on March 25, 2021. Overlooking the fact that the HS codes are not monolithic, a blanket declaration has been made that for the 19 categories of medical devices listed in the said notice only class I local suppliers which have a local content of at least 50% shall be eligible to bid. Each of these categories may comprise of many sub-categories, several of which may not even be manufactured in India thus putting the patients at risks.
The Public Procurement Order has come as a big surprise to the Industry in the absence of thorough stakeholder consultations and those consultations which may have been held were marked with tokenism. The responsibility of basing the order on a robust evaluation of the local manufacturing capacity which should have been borne by the government was also not discharged. The notice seems to have been hastily issued and could have severe implications not only on patient’s health but also on the healthcare ecosystem as such knee jerk reactions could also unsettle the investment environment in the country.