Express Pharma

Union Budget 2023: Industry lauds focus on R&D

Pharma leaders and experts share their views on Union Budget 2023 and give insights on the impact of the measures

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The latest initiatives to promote investments in R&D and healthcare infrastructure, as stated by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the 2023–24 Union Budget, are a step in the right direction. Launching industry-specific new age courses as part of the redesigned Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 4.0 is a strong start towards supporting a sustainable life science ecosystem in terms of skill development. The suggested emphasis on interdisciplinary courses in cutting-edge research, high-end manufacturing, and medical technologies is a step in the right way toward empowering the workforce with the most up-to-date skills required for the pharma and biopharma sectors. Innovations will be sparked by the proposal that some ICMR Labs would be open for collaborative research between public and private enterprises. We welcome these measures and look forward to their successful implementation.

– Dhananjay Singh, Head – Science and Lab Solutions, Merck Life Science

An inclusive Budget from the Finance Minister with a boost to critical areas such as education, agriculture, healthcare, environment, digital, start-ups, skilling and others. For pharma, announcements on a new programme to promote research and innovation through centres of excellence, collaboration with the ICMR laboratories, encouragement to investment in R&D point to much-anticipated support to innovation in pharma. Allocation of over 2% of GDP to health, dedicated multi-disciplinary courses for medical devices, the mission to eliminate sickle-cell anaemia and centres of excellence for artificial intelligence for cutting-edge solutions were other highlights. We welcome these announcements and look forward to studying the detailed proposals.

– Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories

A new program to promote pharmaceutical research & development (R&D) will help spur investment in innovations that can address areas of high disease burden and unmet health needs in India. This is a long-awaited move, and we hope such a program will provide sustained incentives for investment so that the Indian pharmaceutical industry becomes a global hub for both discovery and development work.

Another critical requirement in India’s journey to provide healthcare for all has been to augment health system resources and medical personnel. The move to introduce 157 new nursing colleges in co-location with existing medical colleges will help relieve pressures on doctors and in the long term, increase health system capacity. This will facilitate greater and faster access to primary and preventive healthcare.

Manoj Saxena, MD, Bayer Zydus Pharma

Concerning health matters, in the Budget 2023-2024, It would be greatly beneficial if the government focuses on providing some tax relief to spur innovation and research in lowering the production cost that could potentially assist pharma owners in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems to provide better and faster health solutions across the country. Consequently, incentives or tax breaks could also encourage the development of new special regulatory measures to promote the Indian pharmaceutical industry’s continued expansion while preparing the country for any other foreseeable health crisis.

~ Dr Gagan Bhatia, Unimarck Pharma India

The pharma sector has played a crucial role in India’s economic development, especially during and post the pandemic. We welcome the government’s continued focus on boosting this sector, helping spur demand and growth. R&D is a crucial component for the continued growth and success of the pharmaceutical and API manufacturing industry. The allocation of funds for R&D for the sector is aligned with our expectations. We are glad to witness that the government is allied with the pharmaceutical industry in helping India become a global innovator. It will help the industry in discovering new and innovative technologies, consumer-centric solutions and developing evolved processes, resulting in improvements in efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness in the global market. Additionally, this can foster a culture of innovation within a company and the industry attracting and retaining talented scientists, engineers, and other professionals. We are optimistic about the future and look forward to working with the government to continue the growth of this important sector for the Indian economy.

Manoj Mehrotra, President, Hikal

The decision to come up with a new agenda to promote research and innovation in the pharmaceutical space through centres of excellence is a step in the right direction. We also welcome the move to make facilities of Indian Council of Medical Research labs available for private sector R&D as it will boost collaborative research and pave the way for advanced medical facilities. If backed by favourable incentives and concessions, these Budget announcements will encourage pharma companies to invest more in R&D through private-public collaborations. We hope the proposed blueprint for pharmaceutical research serves as the impetus to propel India to the top as a global pharma superpower through value creation based on cutting-edge research.

– Saransh Chaudhary, President, Global Critical Care, Venus Remedies, and CEO, Venus Medicine Research Centre

The Budget is growth-oriented. The Government expenditure on capital has gone up significantly however fiscal deficit targets are in line with expectations. The life sciences and medical sector will stand to benefit greatly with the impetus on innovation and R&D. The PRIP announcement in the budget speech is a step in the right direction. The move to open select ICMR labs for research programmes by public and private companies will help in strengthening the R&D ecosystem in the country. Setting up of Centres of Excellence for innovation and the Government’s initiatives to encourage investments in R&D will go a long way in bringing Indian Innovation to the forefront. The medical devices sector will also stand to gain from the new multidisciplinary courses which will be introduced as they will bring in skilled talent and enable high technology and promote research and manufacturing of these technologies in India.

The Government’s announcement on eliminating Sickle Cell Anaemia by 2047 is also a much needed step. This disease is prevalent in several parts of India and almost 70 per cent of children under the age of five years get afflicted by the disease. At Zydus Hospitals Dahod we have set up a dedicated centre to help patients suffering from Sickle Cell Anaemia. We need to address this health concern on a war footing.

– Pankaj R Patel, Chairman, Zydus Lifesciences

OPPI would like to congratulate the government on the 2023-24 Union Budget tabled by the Finance Minister. The budget has brought much optimism to the healthcare and pharma sector by putting the focus on research and innovation. With the announcement of a new program for research in the pharma industry being formulated, there is immense potential for the sector to remain competitive in providing quality healthcare to its people. Moreover, the impetus for public-private collaborations showcases the government’s emphasis on providing faster solutions to India’s health challenges. As OPPI, we are looking forward to putting in all our resources and aligning with the government to achieve the objective of healthcare for all.

Vivek Sehgal, DG, OPPI

The Indian pharma industry is a knowledge-driven sector with R&D being core to the growth. The Union Budget 2023 aims to provide stimulus towards innovation with the announcement of the promotion of research and innovation programme in pharmaceuticals through Centres of Excellence. In FY23, the healthcare expenditure on GDP has gone up to 2.1 per cent from 1.4 per cent in FY19. The Government has announced further strengthening healthcare infrastructure with a focus on increasing Nursing Colleges, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Skilling and Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission. The positive thrust on research and innovation is a welcome move to take India to the next level. The emphasis on healthcare is a significant step for India’s overall development given its demographic profile.”