Thursday, December 20, 2018

Can India Truly Become the Global Pharma Leader?

 By Vinod Varshney
Organizing Secretary of the 70th Indian PharmaceuticalCongress, 
B K Sikri (second from the left) informing the media about the 
issues that plague the Indian pharma industry. 
Indian pharma industry has been growing fast over the last few years and is estimated to grow at an enhanced compound annual rate of 22.4 to reach 55 billion US dollars in the next two years. Yet there are signs of worries as numerous issues have cropped up that need to be addressed at the earliest to face the emerging new challenges. Pharma leaders believe that there is immense potential in India to become the global pharma leader and supplier of quality drugs at an affordable price to the world.

This year’s Indian Pharmaceutical Congress, which is the 70th in its history is going to address all the issues and challenges that lie ahead in the path of achieving Pharma Vision 2030 which is aimed at establishing India as the global pharma leader. The issues range from generic formulations, biosimilars, e-pharmacy to better regulatory enforcement, adequate investment in research and development of new molecules and many more.

The Congress will be inaugurated by the vice president of India, Shri Venkaih Naidu on December 21 and would continue up to December 23 at the Amity University campus, Noida.

According to local organizing Secretary B R Sikri, there are several things that would be happening for the first time in the Congress. The most important of them is a face-to-face discussion between representatives of the regulatory bodies and industry captains. Around 50 CEOs of the pharmaceutical companies along with regulators and pharma associations would be participating in this much-awaited exercise. ‘Developing efficient regulatory mechanism and its enforcement is important if India has to retain its role as an exporter of medicines to 195 countries across the world.  Today sixty percent of the medicines that are manufactured in India are exported,’ says Sikri.

Regulatory issues apart, the industry faces a major challenge of research and development. This is an accepted fact that the investment and expenditure on Research and Development in the sector are not adequate. To make the Indian pharma industry more self-reliant the research and development outlay needs to increase. An example is often cited that the Indian pharmaceutical industry depends massively on Chinese intermediates. This dependence is as high as 80 percent. If due to any reason whatsoever China bans this supply to India, the entire industry might come to a grinding halt. Should India not undertake enough R&D to become self-reliant—is a question needs to be addressed sooner than later.

The issues relevant to Indian pharma industry have been smartly chosen in the form of various technical sessions that have been suitably arranged over the three days in the Congress. The organizers inform that useful ideas and solutions that would emerge from the free and frank discussion in an open environment would be forwarded to the government in the form of recommendations.

The discussions in the Congress would be wide-ranging and of global standards. Around 125 eminent speakers are coming from abroad. The event is expected to be mammoth in its size as 6,000 delegates from India and abroad are billed to participate.

Amity University chancellor Dr. Ashok Chauhan is especially proud of providing its campus as the venue of the Congress for the second time within five years. The Congress is being organized by the Indian Pharmaceutical Congress Association, a federation of five professional pharmaceutical bodies and hosted by Indian Pharmacy Graduates Association.