Indian Pharma Industry & Generic Drugs

“India has undertaken a long and arduous, yet rewarding journey in Pharmacology, from the ‘Charak Samhita’ of traditional Indian medicine system, to becoming the 3rd largest drug manufacturer in the world, in terms of volume, in the field of modern medicine”, said M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, while addressing the 2nd Decennial Celebrations of Sarojini Naidu Vanita Pharmacy Maha Vidyalaya in Hyderabad on Saturday 16 March 2019. He lauded the yeomen service rendered by Indian companies in providing lifesaving medicines at affordable prices in the developing countries and stressed the need to give a thrust to research and innovation, and added that:

  • New healthcare challenges are emerging every day, especially with an alarming rise in the number of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases and cancers.
  • World class drugs with unwavering quality at very affordable prices is the need of hour
  • Indian Pharmaceutical industry should remain committed to high standards of quality in drug manufacturing and quality frameworks.
  • The industry should earmark more resources for discovering new molecules and new drugs without compromising on the affordability of drugs.
  • Pharmaceutical industry should strictly adherence to global standards in manufacturing drugs.
  • India has become the largest provider of generic drugs globally and in supplying 80% of the anti-retroviral drugs used worldwide to combat AIDS.
  • With Indian companies producing the drugs at economical rates, the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment has gone down from $ 12,000 to $400 per year.
  • India to emerge as the world leader in generic medicines, young researchers should work towards standardizing and benchmarking Indian systems of medicine.
  • Focus should be the speedy introduction of generic drugs into the market.
  • Globally established experimental protocols, to establish the efficiency, validity and efficacy of the traditional medicines should be used.
  • Pharma companies should develop new molecules and drugs to combat some of the lesser known diseases, particularly the group of diseases called as “rare diseases”.
  • The number of people suffering from rare diseases was estimated to be more than 70 million in India.
  • It was important for the Indian Pharma industry to look into the need for developing low-cost drugs for treating rare diseases.
  • Rural health programmes, lifesaving drugs and preventive vaccines should also receive attention from policy makers and Pharma companies alike.
  • Pharmacy education in India should be revamped to bring it on par with global standards for providing a better tomorrow to our youngsters.
  • India’s contribution to global healthcare has been spectacular as over 65% of the WHO’s demand for DPT and BCG vaccines and 90% measles vaccine are supplied by India.
  • Pharma exports stood at $ 17.27 billion in 2017-18.
  • While India is exporting to over 200 countries, the major market, however, is the USA.
  • Pharma industry was worth US $36.7 Billion in 2017 and has been posting a robust growth over the last few years and was projected to grow to US $55 Billion by 2020.
  • The industry, governments at state and centre should utilize the industry’s growth potential to create job opportunities for youth.
  • Pharmaceutical sector has the crucial responsibility of saving human lives and Pharma companies must go above and beyond their CSR mandates to provide lifesaving and other essential drugs to those who cannot afford them.
  • At “Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan aushadhi Kendras”, quality medicines, surgicals and consumables are now available at affordable prices to the poor and disadvantaged sections.

Vice President presented Gold Medals to 10 meritorious students and complimented the Exhibition Society which is doing great service in the field of education by establishing 18 educational institutions starting from school to post graduate to professional courses with special emphasis on girls education for past 75 years in Telangana with an enrollment of 30,000 students.

Vice President said that from the ancient times India had a very systematic, scientific and rational approach to the treatment of diseases. The Atharva veda is a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom in the field of medicine. It is lauded as the earliest source of medical information in India. Ayurveda has been regarded as anupaveda or a subtext of the Atharvaveda.

The mantras in the ancient texts contain a wealth of information regarding herbs, metals, medicines, diseases and treatments. They speak of the astounding properties and powers that herbs and plants possess to cure diseases.

Vice President advised students that there was immense scope for technology, innovation and research in pharmaceuticals. India has the second highest number of US FDA approved facilities. A major advantage for India is the significantly lower labour costs when compared with than other countries. The government has introduced a range of fiscal incentives to promote domestic manufacturing.

Providing essential drugs and medicines at cost-effective prices is the key focus of Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. The government and the Pharma sector must act in unison to effectively harness the power of Information technology to improve efficiency.

Pharma Jan Samadhan’, a Customer Grievances Redressal system was launched and a mobile application – ‘Pharma Sahi Daam’ that provides real-time information to consumers on prices of Scheduled/Non-scheduled medicines has also been introduced.

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