Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya urged the pharma and med-tech sectors on Wednesday to step outside their comfort zones and embrace innovation as a driving feature of their business strategies, saying that India is ready to compete on the global stage and shift from high-volume to high-value products.
Taking part in the roundtable discussion on “Today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, there are opportunities for R&D and innovation in life sciences.
Mandaviya said, “The Government of India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership 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”.
The purpose of the meeting, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, was to establish an affordable and accessible life sciences ecosystem, identify gaps in the life sciences industry, expand opportunities for knowledge exchange and encouragement of innovation in R&D, and identify investment opportunities to create a robust R&D and innovation ecosystem to increase the competitiveness of the life sciences industry.
Mandaviya stated on the occasion that innovation-based goods account for a significant portion of global value capture (almost 40% of a 6.65 trillion USD industry).
“Promoting drug discovery and innovation will unlock this value and will also enhance the industry’s contribution to the Indian economy (additional USD 10-12 Bn in exports every year) and create a large pool of jobs to enhance India’s differentiation vis a vis other developing economy,” he said.
The Health Minister stated that increased healthcare spending globally, the growth of the Indian middle class, the commitment to Universal Healthcare, and attention to schemes such as Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) and Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP), among others, have created a sustained demand trajectory for the Pharma and MedTech sectors.
“The demand for better therapeutic outcomes, trends in personalized diagnostics, in-home treatment, wearables, telemedicine, etc. has created scope for differentiated products and service offerings,” he said.
To seize these possibilities, the Union Health Minister advised the Pharma-MedTech industries to step beyond of their comfort zones and embrace innovation as a driving aspect of their business strategy.
He stated that “India is now poised to take on the global arena and move from high-volume to high-value products”.
“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 and promoting an enabling ecosystem for innovation in this sector to become a leader in drug discovery and innovative medical devices,” the Minister said.
Mandaviya stated that the government is enhancing the regulatory environment to encourage product development innovation and research. With changes to regulatory requirements, Indian regulators are now attempting to achieve worldwide uniformity in this area.
The government is also working on incentivizing innovation investments through a combination of fiscal and non-fiscal measures, therefore matching risks with remunerative financing choices.
“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 said.
Another emphasis area, he added, is developing a facilitatory ecosystem to encourage innovation and cross-sectoral research as a strong institutional mechanism for long-term growth in the R&D and innovation industry. Mandaviya also emphasised the government’s recent attempts to incorporate traditional remedies and phyto-pharmaceuticals into mainstream public discourse and practise.
He noted that the growth trend in this area will have both direct and indirect effects on employment, farming, industry, and academia.
He also mentioned the government’s support for the Medical Devices industry through a production-linked incentive programme, and emphasised that the bio-pharmaceuticals sector had generated a 50% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last five years.
The Union Minister echoed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call for “Atmanirbhar Bharat,” or “Self-reliant India,” emphasising that India can only achieve self-reliance in pharmaceuticals and medical devices by strengthening its R&D infrastructure, which would drive the expansion of access to life-saving medicines and drugs and help India become a global pharmaceuticals and medical device exports hub.
Mandaviya urged the Pharma-MedTech businesses to make innovation a key component of their business plans.