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Bengaluru hosts India Pharma 2018 and India Medical Device 2018 conference

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Over 20 international drug and device regulators are set to meet with Indian regulators at the venue

Union minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar said that the Ayushman Bharat insurance scheme announced by the Government, popularly dubbed Namo-Care, has the potential to turn India into the largest pharmaceutical manufacturer of the world in about three years.

Inaugurating the third edition of India Pharma 2018 and India Medical Device 2018, the dual conferences and exhibitions being organised by FICCI in collaboration with Dept of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Govt of India, Ananth Kumar said, “Ayushman Bharat will fundamentally change Indian healthcare. It is laying down an ambitious framework for Universal Health Coverage. The government will start rolling out Namo-Care in the next two months with the same speed and efficiency as highly successful initiatives like Mudra Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, Ujala Yojana and neem coating of urea.”

The minister pointed out that Namo-Care cannot be effectively implemented in the currently fragmented ecosystem of the pharma industry and the government accordingly intended to come up with a new pharma policy which will unify and synergise its various components such as Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), manufacturing, R&D, financing, quality control, drug control, price control and medical devices.

The pharma and medical devices industry must take up the Namo-Care challenge, he said. “I have given it the triple A formula – Availability, authenticity and affordability. Can we produce affordable pharma products and medical devices of global standards? That is the real challenge,” added Ananth Kumar.

The minister also said that the country needed a new ministry of pharma and medical devices as various parts of the industry currently were under the ambit of different ministries, leading to fragmentation and lack of unity of purpose. “Considering the demand of the industry, we are also going to undertake major reforms in the DPCO,” he stressed.

A host of dignitaries were present at the inaugural ceremony of the three-day mega-event, including Mansukh L Mandaviya, Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt of India, along with officials from pharma and medical devices industry and government officials from India and abroad. Hundreds of delegates, including 50 hosted delegates from other nations and over 10,000 business visitors, are attending the event. Over 300 companies and 50 start-ups are showcasing their products. More than 90 eminent industry leaders would speak at various sessions spread over three days.

Addressing the audience, Mandaviya said, “Rapid growth in the pharma industry, especially in bulk drugs and APIs, is essential to meet the health needs of the masses. The Indian pharma market is set to emerge as the sixth largest pharma market globally by 2020. The pharma exports stood at US $16.8 billion in 2016-17 and are expected to grow by 30 per cent over the next three years to reach $20 billion by 2020. Indian companies received 305 ANDA approvals from the US FDA in 2017. Our focus is to promote upcoming therapies and provide a conducive environment for them to flourish. We want to regulate various complex issues related to pricing and availability of medicines at affordable prices, R&D, and protection of IPR.”

Over 20 international drug and device regulators are set to meet with Indian regulators at the venue. Ministerial delegations from CIS and BIMSTEC countries are also attending the event. A key highlight of India Pharma & India Medical Device 2018 is a workshop by World Health Organization on “Regulatory System Strengthening and Prequalification updated by WHO.” A conference will also be organised by NASSCOM on “Digital Transformation through Innovation in Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Healthcare Industries.”

The event will see a roundtable of pharma and medical devices CEOs with the Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Ananth Kumar, to discuss government policy and challenges facing the industry.

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