India targeting global arena with high value pharma, med-tech products: Mandaviya
Mansukh Mandaviya at World Economic Forum

Davos: India is poised to take on the global arena and move from high-volume to high-value products in the pharma and med-tech sectors, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Wednesday.

Addressing a roundtable discussion on opportunities in R&D and innovation in life sciences at the World Economic Forum here, the minister said the Government of India is committed to promoting Indian life sciences as a globally competitive sector to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of drugs and medical devices in domestic and global markets.

“India is taking concerted and coordinated efforts on R&D and innovation in the pharma-medtech sector to indigenously develop cutting-edge products and technologies,” he added.

Mandaviya said the union government is promoting an enabling ecosystem for innovation in the pharma-medtech sector to become a leader in drug discovery and innovative medical devices.

He said a large share of global value capture — nearly 40 per cent of a market of USD 6.65 trillion — in the life sciences sector lies in innovation-based products.

Promoting drug discovery and innovation will unlock this value and also enhance the industry’s contribution to the Indian economy, with additional USD 10-12 billion in exports every year, and create a large pool of jobs to enhance India’s differentiation vis a vis other developing economies.

The increased spending on healthcare globally, the increase in the size of the Indian middle class, the commitment to universal healthcare and the attention to schemes such as Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) and Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) have created a sustained demand trajectory for pharma and med-tech sectors, he noted.

The demand for better therapeutic outcomes, trends in personalised diagnostics, in-home treatment, wearables, telemedicine etc have created scope for differentiated products and service offerings.

The minister urged the pharma and med-tech sectors to move out of their comfort zones and adopt innovation as a driving feature of their business strategies.

“India is now poised to take on the global arena and move from high-volume to high-value products,” he said.

Mandaviya also said the government is strengthening the regulatory framework to facilitate innovation and research in product development. Indian regulators are now working towards establishing global harmonisation in this regard, with modifications in the regulatory provisions.

The government is also focussing on incentivising investments in innovation through a mix of fiscal and non-fiscal measures, thereby matching risks with remunerative financing options.

“We are looking at a range of interventions that would facilitate funding support for innovation such as schemes to support investments into R&D innovation, reimbursement of R&D spending and designing appropriate fiscal incentives to promote R&D,” he stated.

Another focus area is creating a facilitatory ecosystem to support innovation and cross-sectoral research as a strong institutional mechanism for sustainable growth in the research and development and innovation sector, he said.

Mandaviya also highlighted efforts initiated by the government to integrate traditional medicines and phyto-pharmaceuticals into the mainstream public dialogue and practice.

The growth in this segment will have direct and indirect impact on employment, the farming community, industry, and academia, he added.

He also referred to the government support for the medical devices sector by a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme and underlined that the bio-pharmaceuticals sector has delivered a 5-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 50 per cent.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or ‘self-reliant India’, he said India can achieve self-reliance in pharmaceuticals and medical devices only by strengthening its R&D infrastructure that would drive the expansion of access to life-saving medicines and drugs and help the country become a global pharmaceuticals and medical devices exports hub.

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