Express Pharma

Wish list for PM Modi’s second year

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Just as 2015 is a make or break year for PM Modi, this will be a decisive year for the pharma sector as well

Now that the milestone of PM Modi’s first year in office is over and done with, let’s make a to-do list for his second year in office. What do we hope he and his government will accomplish by May 16, 2016?

Just as 2015 is a make or break year for PM Modi, this will be a decisive year for the pharma sector as well. The pharmaceutical industry would be hoping that the government relooks price control and rethinks decisions to reduce healthcare spend. In a similar vein, the government has had a somewhat ambiguous stand where IPR is concerned. Can we hope for a clearer indication of this government’s stand on a key issue like IPR?

As Sujay Shetty, Leader Pharma and Life Sciences, PwC India points out, much more needs to be done in the second year. But he concedes that the early indications are that the government is beginning to focus on health issues and is about to take steps to clear the clinical trial impasse. This could be a good development for the industry going ahead, is his overall analysis.

On all the 18 foreign visits in his first year, PM Modi has been an ardent advocate of his government’s flagship programme, ‘Make in India’ but these rebranding efforts need to be further bolstered with solid ground work at home. For instance, the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax, the new Foreign Trade Policy, etc and specific to the pharma sector, API and bulk drug policies, clinical trial regulations, price controls, etc need to be speedy, smooth and transparent. Pharma companies too will have to introspect, change their business models to be in tune with the new legislations and move on rather than hoping for a roll back.

But as the pharma industry gears up to catch the ‘Make in India’ wave, it has to ensure that  it does not impact the environment. Our annual World Environment Day cover story in the forthcoming June 1-15 issue reviews the attempts being made by pharma companies to adopt the Swachh Bharat philosophy in their daily activities. (See story: Swachh Pharma, Swachh Bharat, pages 18-21).

Faced with more stringent action from central and state pollution control boards, many pharma companies are resorting to more frequent internal audits, improving their monitoring systems and switching to more efficient processes. But while PM Modi and the centre is keen on implementing the Swachh Bharat initiative, will the states follow through, without making their actions seem like a throwback to the restrictive inspector raj system?

Maybe the Swachh Bharat mission needs to become a competition between states. This approach seems to be driving the ‘Make in India’ initiative. PM Modi took the chief ministers of three states (Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka) to China during his recent visit, though each travelled separately and were not part of the official delegation. Each CM pitched for investment into their states. The Make in Maharashtra initiative has reportedly received a good response and it is only a matter of time before other states too announce similar projects.

Viveka Roychowdhury
Editor

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