A declining rupee could slash India's medical equipment imports

India's rupee is weakening, and that could spell trouble for larger medical equipment companies outside of the country who rely on robust imports there to thrive.

Experts from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Tecnova point out to The Economic Times that India imports as much as 70% of the medical equipment it uses. That's a lot of prosthetics, orthopedic implants, pacemakers, dental equipment and catheters for a nation of more than 1 billion people. So if the rupee's value is declining compared to the dollar (56 rupees to $1, according to the story), imports automatically become more expensive.

Companies so far haven't boosted their prices, PwC's Rana Mehta told the Times, but that could change, leading to a decline of major purchases. Tecnova's Ankit Suri, however, said in the story that companies are already delaying major medical equipment purchases in light of the rupee's decline.

Of course, the flip side to this can benefit India's domestic medical equipment producers. A less valuable rupee makes imports more expensive, but locally produced medical device products more viable. While India imports much of its medical equipment, the company exports medical consumables. And Mehta says in the article that 60% of consumables made in India are exported already (to Africa and the Middle East), so that number could surely rise.  

- read more in the Times