Policy makers disclosed initiatives, policies and schemes for betterment of the pharma sector
Usha Sharma – New Delhi
Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has declared 2015 as ‘Year of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients’ (API) and to give added impetus for growth, recently, Progress Harmony Development (PHD) chamber recently organised a national conference on ‘Pharma Exports: API Challenges’ in New Delhi. The conference discussed various issues being faced by the pharma industry where policy makers disclosed initiatives, policies and schemes for betterment of the pharma sector.
The conference was attended by key industry stakeholders and policy makers. Nishant V Berlia, Chairman, Health Committee, PHD Chamber, in his speech, gave a broad scenario of the Indian API industry and issues associated with it.
Boujdaria Jamel, Charge D’ Affairs, Embassy of Tunisia shared a brief note on pharma companies located in Tunisia and business opportunities for the Indian pharma companies.
Sudharshan Seneviratne, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka talked about the potential presence of the Indian pharma companies in Sri Lanka. He informed that the Sri Lankan Government is providing subsidies to set up new units in that country. He highlighted that the Sri Lankan population is facing tragic kidney failure issues and everyday15-20 people die in the country, due to the disease.
Dr VK Subburaj, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, Government of India, said that land is a big constraint for the pharma industry in our country, whereas, China provides easy availability of land and electricity at affordable rates. In order to overcome this situation, the government is looking for better business opportunities where the environment is more conducive. The Government of India is determined to see that the Indian API sector is self sufficient. The current situation of the Indian API industry is very challenging, but the government is in the process of formulating various policies, seeing a huge potential in the small and mid sized companies.
Subburaj also mentioned that there is a need to strengthen small and mid-sized API manufacturing units and financial assistance will be provided for the same besides working on the pharma technology upgradation scheme. He also informed that schemes have been introduced for the benefit of clusters. “We have already launched various schemes for innovation in the sector. Indian pharma companies should concentrate on innovations and also focus on disease profile which has immense business potentials in the long run for eg; Alzheimer, Parkinson’s etc. Companies should invest on research programmes in a dynamic manner so that the sector can show promising growth,” added Subburaj.
Replying to an Express Pharma query on when the policy on bulk drugs by the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers, Government of India will be out, which was targeted in March 2015, Subburaj replied that the technical work process of the policy is almost ready and is awaiting for some responses from the stakeholders. It will soon be introduced for the industry. He said, “We are going to have discussions with the Bulk Drugs Manufacturing Association (BDMA) and identify challenges associated with it. We have already opened national bulk drug research centre in Hyderabad where we will find out the new process which can produce cost-effective drugs ”
Subburaj informed that today only 14 to 15 per cent Indian pharma companies are following global standards, which is quite negligible in the global scenario. Today our people (Indian population) are not quality oriented, but look for cost effective things, whereas our sector (pharma) cannot follow the same parameters. The pharma sector needs to have affordable drugs with high quality parameters.
While signing off, Subburaj assured the industry that various secretaries of government bodies related to the pharma sector are keen to work together in resolving the issues. Besides these, the government will also conduct international meetings between governing bodies of various countries, take part in exhibitions, organise industry meets to reach out and understand global requirements and boost exports.”
Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, Government of India urged the pharma industry to help the government in its initiatives. He also assured the industry that the government is not going to become an obstacle in its growth path and will support the industry.
Ahir talked about issues being faced by the clinical research industry and urged the industry to follow the path which is being practised globally. “In future we will hold meetings between the health ministry and industry associations,” Ahir said.
Replying to a question raised by Express Pharma on the delay in opening Jan Aushadhi centres across India, Ahir informed that it is easy to begin any programme but core challenges need to be maintained without any break. There are issues due to shortage of drugs for certain disease profile. However, the policy is ready and under review and there are plans to launch 1,000 stores on September 15, this year.
Anil Khaitan, Chairman and Managing Director, Sunil Healthcare raised issues being faced by the Indian API industry and put forth various benefits being offered by the Chinese Government. He urged the government to enhance the industry with various benefits and to open innovation funds, which will help small and medium-sized pharma companies.
BR Sikri, Director, Auronext Pharma, touched upon the key points like anti-dumping law, showing leniency to the audit process of Chinese plants, a fast track system for clearance, positive working environment at government offices for the betterment of the industry.
Kiran Kalia, Director, NIPER Ahmedabad highlighted the need for the academia and industry to move forward together in scaling up research projects.