Committee of secretaries to look into pharma issues

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 4 2012, 06:32am hrs
The government on Tuesday announced that a committee of secretaries (CoS) would be constituted to deal with issues related to pharmaceutical industry. This committee would comprise secretaries from various ministries concerned, including health, department of pharmaceutical (DoP), department of commerce, department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), and external affairs. Participation of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is also expected, sources said.

Commerce minister Anand Sharma chaired a meeting of secretaries and representatives of concerned ministries, where they also decided to resurrect an earlier plan of mooting a venture capital fund of R2,000 crore to boost R&D in pharmaceutical sector. Much of the groundwork on this account has already been done by department of pharmaceuticals.

A similar plan was originally mooted in 2010 by the department of pharma which envisaged a fund of a much larger size of R10,000 crore . While part of it (an estimated one sixth) was to be contributed by the government, the remaining was to be raised from interested investors. Subsequently in 2011, the DoP had decided to launch the plan with a corpus size of R2,000 crore.However, the concerned plan is yet to take off.

The meeting was also attended by industry captains such as CEO of Ranbaxy Labs Ltd Arun Sawhney, chairman of Wockhardt Ltd Habil Khorakiwala, chairman of Suven Life Sciences Venkat Jasti, executive director of Pharmexcil P.V Appaji among others. Sharma said that the committee would work towards devising steps to consolidate India's leadership in pharma in global markets. It would also work to address the roadblocks in the regulatory environment. "The minister has assured us that the delay caused in granting permission for clinical trial at the DCGI's office would be looked into and industry can expect relief on this account," an industry executive who was part of the meeting told FE.

Sharma said that apart from creating and protecting a patent pool, this body would zero down on specific steps that can promote innovation in pharma sector. "The CoS would specially work on ways to improve financing of R&D initiatives in pharma," Sharma said.