Pharma industry advocating investments in research, sustainable manufacturing, ET HealthWorld

Mumbai: As the anticipation for the interim Union Budget 2024 builds, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is poised for developments that could redefine the growth trajectory of the industry. The pharma industry is one of the cornerstones of India’s healthcare ecosystem and one of the largest contributors globally.

ETHealthworld interacted with some industry leaders in the Indian pharma landscape, who shared their aspirations from the budget announcement on February 1, 2024. The pharma industry is striving to elevate its global standing, and industry leaders highlight the significance of strategic governmental interventions. The industry anticipates an announcement that will propel the nation’s pharma industry to the frontier of cutting-edge research, sustainable manufacturing, and international leadership.

Simplification of regulatory pathways to expedite approvals for novel treatments and investments in educational initiatives

Dr Krishna Prasad Chigurupati, Chairman and Joint Managing Director, Granules India, stated, “India’s pharmaceutical industry is rightfully recognised as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ owing to its substantial production of generic medications. Now, the sector stands at the cusp of a transformative leap, poised to evolve into a global hub for innovative products and sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing.

To realise this vision, the Indian government must enact focused strategies. These encompass the establishment of innovation zones with incentives and infrastructural support, the promotion of public-private partnerships (PPPs) to leverage combined expertise and resources, and amplifying financial support for advanced research and development in pharmaceuticals. Additionally, the simplification of regulatory pathways to expedite approvals for novel treatments and investments in educational initiatives to cultivate a workforce adept in pharmaceutical innovation are imperative. These endeavours are anticipated to herald a new era of leadership in the Indian pharmaceutical sector, marked by pioneering research and development.

India holds immense potential in sustainable manufacturing, presenting a substantial contribution towards combating climate change. Projecting a contribution of $800–900 billion to the GDP in the next 4-5 years, Indian manufacturing sector is poised for transformation by integrating sustainability with cutting-edge science and technology. This approach is essential for curbing the global climate crisis.

Through ambitious projects in renewable energy and green hydrogen, India is positioning itself as a leader in sustainable product manufacturing. This showcases the country’s dedication to sustainable development, economic growth, energy independence, and global leadership in decarbonisation. Accelerating progress in areas like renewable energy, electrolyser, green molecules, bio-based manufacturing, and advancements in carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) is essential. By implementing the right policies and initiatives, India can turn these potentials into reality, solidifying its position as a leading centre for sustainable manufacturing on a global scale.”

Increased funding and incentives for research excellence will spur advancements

Sandeep Jain, Jt Managing Director, Akums Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, said, “In the upcoming 2024–25 budget, the Indian pharmaceutical industry aims for a strategic blueprint recognising its essential role in healthcare. The sector’s substantial contributions to India’s exports fuel expectations for streamlined export processes, boosting global engagement and economic growth. With research and innovation as the industry’s backbone, we applaud the government for introducing multiple schemes in pharma and MedTech last year. Increased funding and incentives for research excellence will spur advancements. Regulatory reforms are crucial for a dynamic and responsive sector, prioritising simplified compliance without compromising safety. In dealing with GST complexities, we advocate for uniform rates for API and finished formulations in the Finance Bill. These measures accelerate the introduction of new drugs for rare diseases, promoting industry agility and efficiency. Essential to this vision are schemes nurturing industry-academia ties and private-state collaboration.”

The Union Budget 2024–25 must expedite innovation and research and development (R&D) efforts
Nikkhil K Masurkar, CEO, Entod Pharmaceuticals, observed, “At present, the Indian pharmaceutical industry stands at the precipice of transformation, aspiring to reach $120–130 billion by 2030 and $400–450 billion by 2047. To realise this ambitious vision, the Union Budget 2024–25 must expedite innovation and research and development (R&D) efforts.

The acceleration of R&D initiatives is pivotal in advancing manufacturing processes and technologies, fostering innovation, and enhancing the sector’s capabilities. A substantial investment in R&D, including fortifying existing institutions and establishing new research entities, becomes imperative to diminish dependence on foreign technology and innovations. The government has already initiated commendable policy measures, such as the Atal Innovation Mission and the R&D policy in the pharmaceutical sector, to stimulate research efforts. The introduction of tax incentives, coupled with these policies, can effectively bolster the broader objectives of the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Acknowledging the inherent high risk, prolonged gestation periods, and low success rates in research, there is an ongoing need for continuous investments. Therefore, the budget should delineate supportive policies offering advantages in both direct and indirect taxes while simultaneously fostering a business-friendly environment for pharmaceutical companies.”

  • Published On Jan 30, 2024 at 08:25 PM IST

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