DMPQ- India’s Pharma sector has played very significant role in making it the pharmacy of the world, but it still lacks in innovation and research and development. Suggest some measures to improve India’s Pharma sector.

The Indian pharma industry operates at scale, and we are leaders in the global generic world. The Indian pharmaceutical market is estimated at $40 billion and pharma companies export another $20 billion. However, this is a miniscule portion of the $1.27-trillion global pharmaceutical market. India ranks third worldwide for pharmaceutical production by volume, but only 14th by value. While our global generic position is a matter of pride, India is only the 12th largest exporter of medical goods. We have more than 30 per cent share in the global generic market but less than 1 per cent share in the new molecular entity space.

India playing at scale in the innovation space will not just help the country but will create a source of sustainable revenues, bringing new solutions to unmet healthcare needs. In India, this would lead to reduction in disease burden (development of drugs for India-specific concerns like tuberculosis and leprosy does not get global attention), creation of new high-skilled jobs, and probably around $10 billion of additional exports from 2030.

Challanges

Five key building blocks need to be in place for India to build a sustainable innovation story:

  • An enabling regulatory structure with simplified processes, robust guidelines, predictability, increased capacity and strong governance. India needs a 60 per cent reduction in the approval timeline to be competitive.
  • Robust funding support with government aid for industry investment through policies/incentives, direct government investment, and significant PE/VC investment. Countries vie for innovation dollars and India has to offer an attractive set of benefits — weighted R&D deduction, additional patent box benefits, and progressive policies to increase innovation funding are a must.
  • Strong linkages between academia and industry with high quality academic talent and infrastructure, industry-oriented research, and strong governance. The US created the Bayh-Dole Act encouraging academics to set up independent companies. India needs world-class centres of excellence to attract global talent and support cutting-edge research.
  • A favourable policy landscape through coherent policies across research, technology commercialisation and IP.
  • Innovation hubs to accelerate collaboration. We need several at-scale innovation hubs co-locating academia, public R&D centres, industry, start-ups and incubators.
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