Innovation, R&D, partnership and policy support to propel Indian pharma industry, Health News, ET HealthWorld
Speaking at the concluding day of the two-day Global Innovation Summit 2021 organised by the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) on Building Innovation Ecosystem in India, Amitabh Kant said, “The pharma industry leaders should collaborate towards building a much more robust and thriving innovation ecosystem. To position Indian pharma on the top in the global landscape, it is crucial to move towards research, innovation and emerging technologies. There is now an evident need to focus our efforts on R&D and innovation in emerging technologies in the pharmaceutical sector. This is the right time to shift from Make in India to Discover and Innovate in India.”
He also added that the government is focused on enhancing the culture of research in India, strengthening industry academic collaboration, providing world class facilities to researchers and scientists and simplifying regulatory processes to boost R&D and innovation in the sector.
On the first day of the summit, in the special addresses made by experts on ‘Policy Thrust for Innovation, S Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DOP) had reiterated the need to increase attention on R&D and innovation to ensure access to quality and affordable pricing. “Indian pharma supplies 22 percent generics and is the second largest exporter of Ayurveda medicines. The pharma sector in India needs to come out of its comfort zone and adopt innovation as a driving feature of its business strategies,” she said.
Dr Vinod Paul, member, NITI Aayog also highlighted the fact that the Indian pharma sector needs to be the discoverer of solutions and new drugs, medicines and biotechnologies.
“The industry should be ready to take risks just the way the COVID-19 journey was associated with risk taking behaviour, like developing new drugs and vaccines in very short and limited time. Investments were made by the government and industry and regulatory pathways were eased out,” he said.
Informing that India has the capacity to develop new drugs both in biologics and biosimilars, Prof. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India, said, “This was amply demonstrated by the COVID-19 drugs which enhanced advancement in India to understand human genetics and develop new drugs.”
The theme of the summit titled “Discover in India: Accelerating the innovation journey of the Indian life sciences industry” saw industry leaders from across domestic and global pharma industries, policy makers, investors and researchers unanimously agreeing that innovation will act as the backbone for propelling the Indian pharmaceutical industry into becoming the global leader and further committed to enhancing its innovation ecosystem.
Highlighting that products developed in India will be compared with the best products developed across the world, Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director at Sun Pharmaceutical Industries said, “We have a collective aspiration to become relevant in the innovative products space. As we move beyond generics and innovative products become successful it will lead to increase in investment and prioritisation. We need to learn to take higher levels of risk and genuinely invest in businesses which have a higher level of research. The next 10 years are going to be far more productive for the industry. Our ability to grow our business in the future is linked with our ability to succeed in innovation.”
Emphasising that the Indian pharma industry has made the right choices till now and has become ‘the pharmacy’, Nilesh Gupta, Managing Director, Lupin said, “If India wants to stay relevant in the pharma space, we must be innovative. We should be running the innovation story at two levels, globally and in India. It is important to improve regulatory capabilities, supportive policies and incentives as well as talent acquisition.”
Commenting that innovation can take the Indian pharma industry to the next level of success,Pankaj Patel, Chairman, Cadila Healthcare said, “India needs a very high level of commitment to innovation and the pandemic has proved this time and again. We need to create a support system to support the innovation ecosystem in India. With . It is very important for Indian companies to innovate and find markets where they can significantly grow from where they stand today and achieve the goal of reaching USD 130 $ by 2030.”
Underlining that there is a lot of scope in healthcare innovation and India can be a front runner, Samina Hamied,Vice President IPA & Vice Chairperson, Cipla said,”We saw through the pandemic how quickly companies innovated in getting products and vaccines to the market. That is a true test of innovation going forward. To build a culture of innovation there has to be a culture of collaboration as we move up the value chain. The R&D policy streamlines regulatory processes, creates an environment for funding and incentive for innovation. Moreover, use of technology is also necessary in creating a single window from development to regulatory approvals that streamlines all the steps across the drug development process. India has incredible brain capacity; we need to focus on integration of this capacity in building the innovation ecosystem.”
Affirming that India to be in the top three destinations of the world in the pharma and healthcare industry while attracting the best of the talent, work on cutting edge technology and providing access to affordable medicines, Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories said, “Innovation will accelerate because of the shift in technologies like digital therapeutics, the cell and gene therapy and holistic treatment. Funding, industry-academia linkages and collaboration between various stakeholders becomes very important for building an ecosystem. To be on the global scale, the government must play a role in providing essential funding to the pharma industry. We can all look at the IT industry and draw a parallel. The government took all the required steps like tax breaks, changing of IPO requirements and gave them many other breaks. The pharma industry also deserves more because the value it can deliver will be more significant than the IT industry.”
Adding to it Glenn Saldanha, Managing Director, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd said, “Innovation is a global play, and we should try to develop products that are best in the world and can beat current standard of care on various therapies. We can draw learnings from western countries to upskill our talent and learn in the near term. With transformation efforts and government support, the next 10 years for India look very exciting.”
Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon who moderated the panel discussion on ‘Creating Regulatory Ecosystem to Support Innovation’ said, “There is a constant need for dialogue and a collaborative approach – be it to further an enabling environment for innovation or drug pricing, especially affordable innovation.”