An MoU signed between India and the US for strengthening cooperation in the field of mental and emotional wellbeing has been welcomed by mental health experts who hope that India will benefit significantly from it. The pact signed during President Donald Trump’s recent visit aims at improving greater sharing of research and insights in treatment approaches on mental health. Similarly it was delightful to see that the two nations held talks over medical devices in their bilateral discussion wherein the focus was firmly on capacity building.
“It is heartening to see that the issue of mental health found a place of importance in the India-US bilateral dialogue. The MoU talks about sharing of experiences and research in the mental health domain between the two countries. In India, mental health is still an under-researched and under-studied subject. On the other hand, America has a longstanding, rich and well researched experience of treating mental illnesses. India stands to benefit significantly by the in-depth research and experience accumulated by that country,” says Dr. Prakriti Poddar, Mental Health expert, Director Poddar Wellness Ltd and Managing Trustee of Poddar Foundation.
“It was delightful to see that there were in dept discussions about mental health in the all-important India-US bilateral talk. The MoU highlights the significance of research to identify the challenges and prevalent issues of mental health in the country. India is still a student when it comes to treating mental health cases effectively as there is low awareness and few effective treatment facilities. Contrarily, the United States of America has a large number of practicing mental health practitioners who help people dealing with ill mental health emerge stronger with effective lines of treatment.” said Dr Pankaj Gupta, President, IIHMR.
The burden of mental health disorders has increased dramatically in India over the past three decades. Still, as many as 80% of people fail to find help or treatment. India doesn’t just need to create greater awareness about mental health but also needs to adopt better treatment mechanisms and approaches and the bilateral agreement will help India improve its capacity in addressing the rising mental health burden.
“The MoU also talks about encouraging the use of traditional Indian therapies to address mental health issues. This is another important step as it will also help popularize traditional Indian wisdom on a global level,” added Dr Poddar.
Indian Central Drugs Standard Control Organization and the US Food and Drug Administration are the parties to the Mou in which the US medical device lobby wants India to focus on the pricing regulation and trade margin rationalization which are hampering the introduction of innovative devices in the country.
“The memorandum of understanding signed by the US and India on medical products will help increase access to medical devices. On the off chance it does not happen, the government must consider instituting a separate regulatory body for medical devices as is the practice in developed countries. Regulating medical devices as drugs will just force manufacturers to wait longer to get approval to make, import and sell their devices, which will increase the compliance cost and lead time. It will also hike up the cost of launching new products. Ultimately, we are looking at a scenario that will end up increasing the cost of healthcare delivery. Decoupling medical devices from the CDCSO is essential, and the industry leaders will be more than willing to get together with the stakeholders and discuss policy measures with the government. It will boost local manufacturing and ensure a fair and competitive marketplace if the trade deal takes a positive direction” Said Mr. Sanjay Jha, Director, ColMed,a medical device distribution company.