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Skill development project for life sciences sector launched in Maharashtra

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Low occupation standards set to threaten India’s potential pharma exports

The Indian pharmaceutical industry must treat the January 1, 2018 deadline issued by the Drug Controller General of India as sacrosanct for upgrading skills sets of persons employed in their units, said Ranjit Madan, CEO- Life Sciences Sector Skill Development Council (LSSSDC), set up under an auspices of the Ministry of Skill Development.

“India’s workforce stands at 3.7 per cent in terms of the National Occupation Standards. While South Korea’s workforce stands at 97 per cent and China’s is at 50 per cent. Developed countries also have a very high rate as low rate out- weighs the other factors in the economy,” Madan said during the launch of the skill development project in Maharashtra.

In August 2016, Drug Controller General of India had issued a circular stipulating the deadline at January 1, 2018.

“Keeping in view the objective of bringing substantial improvement in the quality of pharma products, it has become imperative that all personnel employed in pharma manufacturing units shall undergo the certification programmes developed by LSSSDC and with effect from January 1, 2018. No person shall be employed in any pharma/ bio-pharma manufacturing units unless the person has obtained a formal degree in the relevant area, or has been certified by LSSSDC or equivalent organisation in the area,” the DCGI circular stated.

“In Maharashtra, LSSSDC has mandated Pollux Life Science Solutions LLP led by Hemant Deshpande to conduct broad based skilling, which begins at pharmacy undergraduate level and concludes with job specific theory and practical training of 10 prominent roles that covers 90 per cent of the functions in pharma business. The industry ready, employable resource will not only bring down the training cost for companies by providing job ready pharmacy graduates but also lower unproductive lead time during initial employment period. This will help companies to hire right people and will lead to significant reduction in attrition rate, said Hemant Deshpande, Managing Partner,Pollux Life Science Solutions LLP in his initial remarks.

Speaking at the panel discussion, Dr Bangarurajan, Deputy Drug Controller, West Zone said, “India exports $17 billion worth of pharma drugs and one out two medicines consumed globally is by an Indian. The country also produces 50,000 pharma graduates every year of which 7000 are from Maharashtra. However, in 2016, 136 warning letter on export alert were issued around the globe and India accounted for 27 per cent of the same, which threatens to cut the revenue growth and needs to be addressed through training programmes.”

“Indian pharma professionals account for salaries worth Rs 33,000 crore annually and this is largely dependent upon export revenues. Any element of negligence at various level of workforce can threaten regulatory reactions hampering the image of the company in particular and the country in general,” Deshpande said.

The launch was attended by industry leaders from across the pharma spectrum including Vivek Padagaonkar and Rajiv Shukla from Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) and Dr George Patani representing Indian Drug Manufacturers Association.

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