Ananth Kumar hints at separate ministry for pharmaceuticals

Ananth Kumar hints at separate ministry for pharmaceuticals

Minister moots cut in production cost to become numero uno

Ananth Kumar hints at separate ministry for pharmaceuticals

 Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar said on Saturday that the pharmaceutical sector would have its own ministry by the next Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC) to be held in Vishakhapatnam.

Inaugurating the 67th IPC, hosted by Indian Hospital Pharmacists’ Association (IHPA), under the IPC Association (IPCA), at JSS University in Bannimantap here, he said, in the 1960s the sector was under the Defence Ministry, then it moved to Petrochemicals and Natural Gas Ministry. Now, it is under a separate department of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers.

As and Ds

Listing out three As and three Ds for becoming number one in the world in production of drugs and medical devices, Kumar said that the three As are authenticity, availability and affordability and the three Ds are discovery, bulk drugs and devices.

“The Indian pharmaceutical industry is already number three in the world in terms of the volume of production of drugs and it is number 10 in terms of the worth. If the cost of production is brought down by at least 30 per cent, India can become number one. To help the industry reduce costs, the government is planning pharma clusters to provide common facilities. Incentives may be paid for fair practices and achievements,” he said.

FDA standards

Noting that Indian drugs were available in more than 200 nations across the globe and that they were the only drugs matching the standards set by the Food and Drug Administration of the US, after the US industries, he said, China is doing well in bulk drugs and devices. But overtaking China is not a big issue, given India’s advantages in pharma education, expertise and focus on quality.

“The industry should concentrate on discovery of new drugs. Instead of reverse engineering and re-engineering of available formulations, we should concentrate on new engineering.

Steps should be taken to make essential drugs affordable to the needy. After the NDA government assumed office, as many as 600 drugs have been brought under drug control. The national list of essential medicines has been revised and its scope expanded,” he said.

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