Tue, 26 Sep 2000

Government support sought for medical products

JAKARTA (JP): Local producers of medical and laboratory devices badly need government support to provide cheap, high- quality products to the public, according to the Ministry of Health.

Speaking at a meeting of the Association of Medical and Laboratory Device Entrepreneurs (Gakeslab), Sampurno, director general of food and medicine supervision at the ministry, said such support would help the country to lower the use of such products from overseas.

According to Sampurno, about 90 percent of medical and laboratory equipment used in this country is imported, mostly from the United States and Europe.

"We need to support the local industry by giving them incentives and financial access," he said. He added that some domestic plants already had the qualification to produce some medical devices and export them to other countries.

"The items are not complicated or computerized ones. They are just modest devices, such as incubators, because our industries here still lack human resources and technology," Sampurno said,

But the quality of local products meets international standards.

Gakeslab spokesperson P. Benny Manullang said the main obstacle in the industry was mastering the required technology.

"Some companies are capable of producing big devices like X- ray machines. But most companies only produce small devices," he said.

Benny added that the government only gave state budget subsidies of between Rp 500 million (US$62,500) and Rp 1 billion to each of the ministry's provincial office.

According to Sampurno, Indonesia should follow the investment and tax system in China and India, which fully support local production of medical devices.

In China, the government is working on the regulation of product registration.

Sampurno said that product registration in China was valid for only four years, while here does not expire. (09)