India working on a dedicated R&D policy to bolster pharma sector

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Experts discuss regulatory reforms, ease of doing business during Health & Wellness Week at India Pavilion, reports Asian Lite News

The India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai has hosted a roundtable, ‘India – Pharmacy of the world’ as part of the ongoing Health & Wellness week, wherein several government and industry experts discussed the key focus areas including regulatory reforms, pharma exports, ease of doing business, R&D financing mechanisms and clinical trial scenario in India.

In his virtual address, N Yuvraj, Joint Secretary (Policy, Medical Device, Pharma Bureau), Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India (GoI) said, “The current valuation of the Indian pharma industry is USD 41 billion, which has the potential to grow up to USD 130 billion by 2030. There is a strong potential for further growth for the industry, but it should be in a holistic manner from across the value chain.”

“Under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat mission, we are increasing our domestic production by reducing our import dependence to make products not only for India but also for the world. The Department of Pharmaceuticals is working on a dedicated national R&D policy for the sector to ensure that India will soon position itself as an ideal destination for collaborations and alliances in the pharmaceutical industry,” he added. 

India working on a dedicated R&D policy to bolster pharma sector

Talking about the regulatory reforms in India virtually, Dr Rubina Bose, Deputy Drugs Controller (India) at Central Drugs Standard Control Organization said, “We have taken various measures to streamline the drug regulatory system in the country by ensuring transparency, accountability and promote innovations, scientific and ethical research. These measures are aligned with the National Health Policy, which aims to improve and strengthen the regulatory environment for easing drugs and devices manufacturing while promoting ‘Make in India’.” 

Addressing the area of pharma exports and ease of doing business virtually, Shri Uday Bhaskar, Director General, Pharmexcil, Ministry of Commerce, GoI said, “India is doing extremely well in the pharma export. The Indian pharmaceutical industry is continuing the legacy of providing the medicines at a very affordable price not only to the underdeveloped countries and the developing countries but also to the well-developed and highly regulated markets.”

“Going ahead, we need to focus on biologics and complex generics, hence we have to work towards spending and supporting the industry particularly in R&D and innovation,” he added.The roundtable was also attended by Mr Taher Karampurwala, Cluster Head – APAC and MENA, Cipla along with other dignitaries, who joined the session virtually including Dr Dulal Panda, Director, NIPER Mohali, Dr Manish Diwan, Head – Strategy Partnership & Entrepreneurship Development, BIRAC, Department of Biotechnology, GoI, Shri Vikrant Shrotriya, Managing Director, Novo Nordisk India, Dr Murali Ramachandra, CEO, Aurigene Discovery Technologies (Subsidiary of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories) and Ms Suneela Thatte, Vice President and Head- R&D India, Merck KGaA.

Indian pharma manufacturers export nearly half of the pharma production, both in terms of volume and value to the US, UK, South Africa, Russia and other countries. 

The Health & Wellness week at India Pavilion will conclude on 4th February 2022.

Medical value travel

As part of the ongoing Health Week, the India Pavilion on Friday hosted two sessions on Medical Value Travel (MVT), wherein sectoral experts elaborated their views on the opportunities that the MVT sector holds and the rising role of telemedicine & Indian traditional medicine.

Indian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

The first session “Medical Value Travel Post Pandemic: Challenges & Opportunities” witnessed discussion on the opportunities and growth of the MVT industry in a post-pandemic environment. The speakers shared their thoughts on how the MVT industry in partnership with other emerging technology providers and the government can accelerate Tele-Health in India and at the global level.

Sharing his views, Sunil H Talati, Chairman, Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) said, “Every year billions of people take advantage of medical tourism and medical travel for better treatment and appropriate medical attention. While pandemic has hit the sector badly, we expect India to gain around USD 13 billion business by treating international patients this year. Both SEPC and the Government of India are extremely positive regarding the growth of MVT in the 
coming years.”

Addressing the audiences, David Boucher, Group CSE, Aster DM Healthcare said, “The last two years have been really difficult for international medical travel because of the travel restrictions and ongoing pandemic. I believe that there is a huge pent-up demand, and we are very bullish on the market and the sector.”

The second session “Rising Role of Telemedicine & Indian Traditional Medicine in Medical Value Travel” emphasised on developing a strategy to integrate Telemedicine and Indian traditional medicine in India’s MVT services, defining its role, importance, and scope in accelerating MVT. The discussion underlined the importance of Telehealth in increasing patient access, improving outcomes, and delivering efficient healthcare to partner MVT countries.

Vaidya Sumeet Goel, OSD to Secretary, Ministry of Ayush said, “The Ministry of Ayush is working on various aspects to cater to the Medical Value Travel. We have recently started providing Ayurveda medical treatment in India under the medical visa category. Ayush Export Promotion Council has also been set up. The Ministry has started incentivising the entrepreneurs and foreign investors, who wanted to establish Ayush wellness centre or tertiary care centre under the Champion Services Sector Scheme.”

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“We are also working with the Bureau of Indian Standards to develop standards for Medical Value Travel in AYUSH systems, which will be at the level of ISO so that we can have global level standardization,” added Vaidya Goel.

Upasana Arora, Healthcare Panel Head, SEPC & Director, Yashoda Hospitals participated in the session virtually and said, “India has proven itself during COVID-19 and has done a tremendous job in vaccination front despite huge population. From manufacturing vaccines to providing medical consultation through telemedicine, we have proved that India is the best place for healthcare facilities. I urge everyone to consider India as the best medical destination for all kinds of treatments not only in modern medicine but through traditional medicine as well.”

The discussions also saw participation from eminent sector experts like Major Tom Louis, CEO (Projects), VPS Health & Response Plus Medicals, Mr Sandeep Vohra, Chief Executive, Roseview Investment & Advisors, UAE & Representative for HTI, UAE, Ms Lydia Oile – CEO, Le memorial, Uganda, Ms Leila Kresic Juric – HTI – Belgium, Mr Vinay Aggarwal – Founder & MD, Shinon Global, Ms Inna Dashchenkomy, Co-Founder, Medtour Club – Ukraine, Mr Lutz Lungwitz -President, German Medical & Wellness Association, Mr Shaaz Mahmood, Founder, Medijourn, VPS Delegate – Dubai & Mr Danish Khan, Founder, CureStay.