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Govt likely to set up think tank to solve pharma sector issues

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The think tank likely to be set up within the next two months

The Commerce Ministry intends to set up a think tank comprising CEOs of pharma companies, scientists, researchers and government officials to resolve issues arising both globally and domestically. The think tank, likely to be set up within the next two months, will have members identified from AYUSH, biotechnology, clinical research and from large, mid and small pharma companies. The move comes after India protested the ban of over 700 drugs of GVK Biosciences and postponed the scheduled talks on FTA with the EU.

A meeting, headed by Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister in New Delhi recently, was attended by senior officials from ministries of health, pharma, and industry representatives, to discuss the issues in the pharma sector, which saw exports worth $15.4 billion in 2014-15. It was decided to set up a platform to ‘identify bottle necks and resolve various issues for overcoming challenges and promoting hassle free trade.’

The meeting was led by Sudhanshu Pandey, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce – Ministry of commerce and Industry and was attended by all concerned agencies of the Government of India, primarily related to the pharma sector. Dr Surinder Singh, DCG(I), KL Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr TS Rao, Additional Adviser, Department of Biotechnology, Dr M Ariz Ahammed- Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Dr S Eswara Reddy, Joint Drugs Controller (India), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and Lanka Srinivas, International Pharma Consultant and Senior Adviser – Pharmexcil were also present.

In the meeting, the industry representatives said that given the complexity of issues in the sector, there is a need for convergence among policies and programme of different departments.

“Since the scientific breakthroughs in chemistry, biology, microbiology, physics and biotechnology impact development of this sector directly or indirectly, it is important to have a platform where all these developments are shared between academia, industry and scientific community for the larger benefit of the society,” an official statement said.

The government has maintained that pharma industry is one of the flagship sectors of India and a think tank would help in pointing out the hurdles and overcoming challenges in the sector.

Commenting on the meeting, Dr PV Appaji, Director General, Pharmexcil said, “We are happy with the initiative taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry under the chairmanship of Nirmala Sitharaman. Pharmexcil will give its full support in providing necessary information to the government required for the formation of the think tank and its objectives.”

While revealing the impact of the initiative on the pharma industry, Appaji said, “The think tank will allow experts from various segments related to the pharma sector help in bringing investments for the pharma sector in India.

Primarily, it will help in accelerating the growth of  Indian pharma export.”

(With inputs from Usha Sharma)

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