India Lifts Ban On Import Of Used Ventilators With Surge In COVID-19 Cases⁠, Experts Ring Alarm Bell

Image Credits: Economic Times

India Lifts Ban On Import Of Used Ventilators With Surge In COVID-19 Cases⁠, Experts Ring Alarm Bell

Experts says that the use of second-hand ventilators would jeopardise the lives of patients unless they are clinically approved.

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The government has revoked a ban on the import of second-hand ventilators as the country witnesses rise in the number of coronavirus cases amid the nationwide lockdown.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change through a memorandum dated April 1, relaxed India's import policy allowing the use of such used ventilators for six months, till September 30, 2020.

Earlier, a policy banned the import of such hazardous equipment and other waste materials in the light that such critical care equipment was prohibited for reuse.

The government data reveals that India has about 40,000 ventilators and has placed a requisition for 49,000 new ventilators this month.

The Ministry said that the hospitals could procure used ventilators and any used ventilators already imported and lying at the customs.

It also informed that the policy change was done after receiving several requests from the industry. There have been a number of reports highlighting the shortages in the medical equipment including ventilators to treat the COVID-19 patients.

However, doctors and industry experts are of an opinion that the use of such second-hand ventilators would jeopardise the lives of patients unless they are clinically approved for reuse.

It is believed that such used ventilators are mostly outdated and exhausted by patients and then sold at low prices in India.

"Though it sounds like an attractive option, the government should not allow such imports without ensuring that these ventilators are compliant to HLL procurement specifications, tested at NABL accredited labs to HLL specifications and ISI standards..." Rajiv Nath, the coordinator of the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AIMED) told Economic Times.

Rajiv asserted that the government should not allow the use of such exhausted medical equipment but due to shortages if India has to resort to such means, then it should be ensured that they are compliant with all the specifications applied on other manufacturers and are tested at accredited national laboratories.

Also Read: Bihar: 4 Attacks On Health Workers In 24 Hours At COVID-19 Hotspots

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Editor : Shweta Kothari
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By : Palak Agrawal