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India plans incentives for diabetes, obesity drug makers in 2026, says government official

Drugmakers across the globe are looking to grab a slice of the weight-loss drugs market, which is estimated to reach at least $100 billion by the end of the decade.
Last Updated : 28 June 2024, 12:57 IST

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Bengaluru: India is planning to offer incentives to promote local manufacturing of GLP-1 drugs used to treat diabetes and obesity, in 2026, a top government official said on Friday.

GLP-1 drugs, originally approved to treat diabetes, are also widely being used to treat obesity as they slow digestion, helping patients feel full longer.

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk's patent on semaglutide - a GLP-1 agonist and the key ingredient in its wildly popular obesity drug Wegovy and diabetes drug Ozempic - is set to expire in India in 2026, industry experts say.

"The (Indian) companies (planning) manufacturing GLP-1 drugs have applied for the government's production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme," Arunish Chawla, Secretary of Department of Pharmaceuticals, told Reuters.

"Once they start manufacturing in 2026 after patent expiries, we will give them the incentive," said Chawla, without disclosing the names of these companies.

Drugmakers across the globe are looking to grab a slice of the weight-loss drugs market, which is estimated to reach at least $100 billion by the end of the decade.

India has high obesity rates, especially among women, and has the world's second-highest number of people with type 2 diabetes. Around 11% of Indian adults will be obese by 2035, according to the World Obesity Federation Atlas.

Domestic drugmakers Biocon, Sun Pharma, Cipla, Dr Reddy's and Lupin are all part of this club. They were not immediately available for comment on Friday.

India has offered incentives since 2020 to spur local manufacturing of everything from electronic products to drones, but has been successful only in a handful of them.

The drugmakers that will be considered for the upcoming incentive scheme have labeled their GLP-1 drugs use case as 'anti-diabetic' in their application, Chawla said.

"Their usage for obesity will depend on necessary approvals at that time from the drug regulator."

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Published 28 June 2024, 12:57 IST

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