GE cashes in on lower duties to install India's first PET/CT system

GE Healthcare took advantage of a favourable duty structure to install India's first PET/CT system at Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Mumbai this week.

Duties on PET and PET/CT systems have been reduced to 5% in the budget, and GE said it expects more orders in the coming months. Government institutions are the most likely buyers, but the tendering and evaluation process typically takes months.

The PET/CT model installed at TMH was Discovery ST, which combines a PET scanner with a 16-slice CT scanner. "Over 350 Discovery PET/CT systems have been installed worldwide in the last two years," said V. Raja, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Technologies, South Asia, and managing director of Wipro GE Healthcare.

A PET system costs about Rs 5-7 crore, and a PET/CT system costs Rs 10-13 crore, depending on the configuration. Apart from the clinical benefits of combining functional and anatomical imaging, scan time is significantly shorter in PET/CT.

The system can also be used as a CT scanner, giving greater flexibility to imaging centres that do not have high PET volumes and that want to recover costs faster.

The inauguration of the PET/CT system was accompanied by the commissioning of a bioimaging unit at TMH and a lecture by Dr Steve Larsen, chief of nuclear medicine at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

"There's a tremendous impact on management," Larsen said. Among the benefits of PET/CT, Larsen listed proper staging for better treatment planning and the ability to look for occult diseases to improve chances of finding cures.

By staff writers
December 16, 2004

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