President’s Report: Round-table discussion on “Make in India: Generic Drugs and the Big Opportunity in the Indian Pharma Sector”
October 11, 2017, New Delhi: H2 Life Foundation organised a Round-Table Discussion on “Make in India: Generic Drugs and the big opportunity in the Indian Pharma Sector”. Mr Vikas Sharma, President, H2 Life Foundation chaired the discussion. Mr Ranjit Madan, CEO, Life Sciences Sector Skill Development Council, was the special guest at the discussion.
Addressing the gathering at the discussion, Mr. Vikas Sharma stressed that “Special attention and support should be given to R&D endeavours and the development of new manufacturing facilities. Issues like the lack of investments and funding, sharing of pharmaceutical infrastructure and the development of a skilled workforce need to be addressed on a priority basis.”
With respect to the New Pharma Policy, Mr Ranjit Madan stated: “Emphasis should be laid on integrating the programmes under Skill India with the objectives of the ‘Make in India’ initiative to give a boost to domestic production and provide support to the pharmaceutical sector.”
Eminent luminaries who also addressed the august gathering included, and we quote them:
Dr. Anil Goyal, Hon. Joint Secretary, Indian Medical Association talked about the need to drastically increase the number of Jan Aushadhi stores to facilitate the efficient distribution of generic medicines. He also emphasised on the need to increase awareness about generic medicines and promote their usage amongst the masses.
He highlighted that manufacturing of generic medicines in India presents a big opportunity to the pharmaceutical sector and the Indian economy. The pharma industry and the Government must work together towards the attainment of the common goal of providing the highest quality of medicines to the masses at the lowest possible price. A balance must be struck in the cost optimisation of medicines to arrive at the desired result without any compromise in quality.
Dr. R.K. Aggarwal, Director, Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (BPPI) talked about the prevailing quality issues in generic medicines. He said that cost-cutting by pharmaceutical companies leads to an inferior quality of medicines, thus, hampering the government’s initiative to provide quality medicines at low price.
He stated: “There is a need to focus on making available, quality drugs at competitive prices while ensuring that quality standards of the drugs are not compromised at any cost.”
Dr. Sanjeev Sharma, Apollo Pharmacy:
“Temperature control should be enhanced in generic medicines so that the quality and the effect of the medicines can be preserved for a longer duration, this would play a definitive role in the acceptance of generic drugs by the masses. There is also a need for intensive R&D to tackle this and to promote domestic production of generic drugs at cost effective rates.”
Dr. Varun Gupta, Vice-president, 1mg Technologies Private Ltd:
“Patients need to be made aware of the different brands of medicines available in the market and the sub-categories that exist within generic medicines themselves. There is an urgent need to launch a digital healthcare platform so that patients have access to information about the different types of drugs and can make informed decisions.”
Mr Aditya Banerjee, Healthcare and medical devices Consultant stressed on the need to launch initiatives to boost the domestic production of healthcare equipment as much as the need to manufacture generic medicines.
He stated: “We must end India’s reliance on imports to fulfil the growing demand for healthcare equipment. There is a need to introduce policy reforms aimed at aligning the ‘make in India’ initiative with the pharma industry and to boost the domestic production of healthcare equipment.”
He also stressed that: “There should be a quality control check of the Medicines. The standardisation of the drugs and their quality control mechanisms should be taken care of on a priority basis.”
Mr P K Gupta, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry, talked about the need to develop infrastructure and pharmaceutical facilities in India, so the industry may get to the next level in the coming years and patients may get rid of their concerns about costs and quality of medicines.
Additionally, in an exclusive video interaction with H2 Life Foundation Dr. KK Aggarwal National President of Indian Medical Association (IMA), provided several crucial insights for the New Pharma Policy.
Dr. KK Aggarwal thanked H2 Life foundation and its president Mr. Vikas Sharma for organising a discussion on a subject that is of utmost importance. He talked about IMA’s focus on affordable healthcare and the need to have cheaper drugs. He further shed light on the categorisation of generic drugs, he stated:
“Off-patent drugs are sold in three categories – generic generic, branded generic and trade generic. As these have different pricing structures despite being the same chemically and in efficacy, the patient often gets confused and feels that they are being cheated. Therefore, there should be one drug, one company, one price.”
Dr Aggarwal also talked about the need for opening more Jan Aushadhi stores and for launching a digital platform focused on the classification of medicines and dissemination of information for the masses.
Talking about The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) he stated: “Usage of NLEM drugs can be useful as they are price capped by the government. Patients should be encouraged to ask their doctors if NLEM drugs can be prescribed, if non NLEM drugs are prescribed by doctors they should explain the cost difference as well.”
Other panelists who participated in the discussion included:
Dr. Rakesh Garg, Consultant Anesthesiologist and Associate Professor, AIIMS; Dr. Ajay Sharma, Director-Government Affairs, OPPI; Ashok Kumar Madan, Executive Director, Indian Drug Manufacturers Association; Dr. R.K. Aggarwal, Director, Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (BPPI); Vipul Kumar Gupta, Corporate Affairs, Cipla; Dr. Sanjeev Sharma, MD, MCP, Apollo Pharmacy; Kawaljeet Singh, Asst. General Manager, Mylan Laboratories Limited; Arun Sachdeva, Sr. manager- Regulatory Affairs, Lupin Limited; Amal Sivaji, Head- Healthcare, US India Strategic Partnership Forum; Dharmvir Singh, Deputy Director General, Competition Commission of India; Dr. Aditya Kumar Singh, Senior Resident, AIIMS; Navneet Pratap Singh, Asst. Drugs Controller, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization; and Dhananjay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Union Public Service Commission amongst others.
H2 Life Foundation was represented by Masha Mukherjee, Secretary General; Sadhan Mukherjee, Treasurer; Advisor to the Foundation Sumanto Mukherjee (Director, Aspire Institute of Professional Studies); and Advisor to the Foundation Praver Sharma (Editor, Bharat Khabar) at the discussion.
The Round-Table Discussion was a huge success and witnessed participation of key stakeholders from varying fields which included representation from government bodies, corporates, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and consultants, think-tanks, and media personnel. The discussion was concluded with a vote of thanks to the participants.