The central government is formulating a policy to encourage research in pharmaceutical sector for patented drugs, and is also trying to widen the reach of generic medicines, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said here on Saturday. He lamented that although India is making generic medicines available to the world on a large scale, people of the country are consuming branded medicines, which is increasing the cost of medical treatment.
Speaking at an event on pharmaceutical sector organised here in the run up to the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, Mandaviya said the Centre’s policy to make healthcare accessible to 10 crore families is also creating an opportunity for the pharmaceutical sector.
“The government has eased the policy for research in the pharmaceutical sector, and the time taken for giving permission to a company to carry out research has been reduced. But the country should not limit itself to manufacturing generic medicines, it should also conduct research and sell patented drugs to the world market,” he said. Mandaviya said the government is working on a policy to encourage research in pharmaceutical companies, which will also deal with how they can be supported financially.
This has helped in the research and production of COVID-19 vaccines within nine months, he said. “The situation is changing. Our scientists had the capacity, but the system was such that they would get approval for research after two-three years (of seeking nod). But our government has instructed the authorities to simplify the system while ensuring quality,” said Mandaviya, who also holds the portfolio of chemicals and fertilisers.
He said India has got skill, manpower and trust to attract global investment in the pharma sector. The number of health and wellness centres launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the aim of making healthcare accessible and affordable to the poor, has increased to 90,000, and in the next two years it will go up to 1.5 lakh, Mandaviya said.
More than 8,500 Jan Aushadhi Kendras in the country are also increasing the availability quality generic medicines to the people at as low as half the price, he said. “One out of four generic tablets taken in the US, and one out of six in the world, is manufactured in India. We are making generic medicines available to the world, and we are ourselves consuming branded medicine to increase our treatment cost,” he said, adding that the Centre’s schemes will encourage use of generic medicines in the country.
Gujarat Health Minister Rishikesh Patel said that the state will come up with an investment park in Bharuch for bulk drugs.
The day-long pre-event summit on ‘Holistic Healthcare: Focus on Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices’ included deliberations on boosting bulk drug production through Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme , reducing India’s dependence in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and medical devices, and Jan Aushadhi Kendras Generic Medicines.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel was also present at the event.