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Health Minister Mandaviya Launches National Policy on Research, Development & Innovation in the Pharma-MedTech Sector 

Written by : Jayati Dubey

September 27, 2023

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Dr Mandaviya highlighted that the scheme aims to make India a prominent and valuable contributor in the global pharmaceutical market. It intends to achieve this by ensuring high-quality, easy access, and affordable healthcare solutions. 

Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Health Minister of India, has unveiled the National Policy on Research and Development and Innovation in the Pharma-MedTech Sector. This policy is accompanied by the introduction of the Scheme for the Promotion of Research and Innovation in the Pharma-MedTech Sector (PRIP). 

During the launch event, Dr Mandaviya said, "Today is a historic day, an inflection point in the journey of "Atmanirbharta" in the pharma & medical devices sector. We need to transform Indian Pharma & MedTech sectors from a cost-based to a value-based & innovation-based industry." 

Distinguished figures present at the event included Dr VK Paul, member of NITI Aayog; S Aparna, secretary (Pharma) at the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers; and Dr Rajiv Bahl, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 

The PRIP scheme aspires to position India as a global pharmaceutical leader by emphasising high-volume, high-value production while ensuring quality, accessibility, and affordability. Furthermore, it aims to nurture an ecosystem conducive to innovation by fostering collaboration between academia and the private sector and encouraging youth entrepreneurship through startups. 

Dr Mandaviya underscored the transformative nature of this phase in the Indian pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors. It involves close cooperation between government institutions and agencies, including the Pharmaceutical Department, ICMR, DST, DBT, and NIPER. 

Mass production of pharmaceuticals and medical devices is a priority, and to facilitate this, India has established three bulk drug parks in Himachal Pradesh, Vizag, and Gujarat, along with four medical device parks in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. 

Dr VK Paul, a member (Health) at NITI Aayog, highlighted India's global leadership, emphasising the need for collaboration between academia, public institutions, and the private sector. He anticipates these reforms will prepare India for future challenges and enhance national biosecurity. 

Sudarshan Jain, secretary general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), described the approval of the National Policy for Research & Development and Innovation and the PRIP scheme as a significant milestone for India. He anticipates that these initiatives will encourage Indian pharmaceutical companies and foster a vibrant research and development ecosystem. 

Pavan Choudary, chairman of the Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), expressed confidence in the PRIP Scheme's potential to catalyse the growth of innovative MedTech products in India.  

He said, "We are encouraged by the government's focus on R&D as it aims to utilise India's existing strengths. While India has only 1.5% of the global medical device market, it has an 8% share of the global MedTech R&D work force. This is a fertile and proven area that the government has rightly identified to build on. It is a policy which harnesses both the domestic and international currents to optimally forge the path ahead." 

Key Highlights of the National Policy on Research and Development and Innovation in Pharma-MedTech Sector in India 

Regulatory Environment: The policy aims to create a regulatory environment that fosters innovation and research in product development, expanding beyond traditional safety and quality objectives. 

Incentivising Investment: It seeks to incentivise private and public investment in innovation through fiscal and non-fiscal measures. 

Ecosystem Support: The policy focuses on building an enabling ecosystem to support innovation and cross-sectoral research, establishing a solid institutional foundation for sustainable growth. 

Collaboration: It proposes the establishment of an Indian Council of Pharmaceuticals and Med-tech Research and Development to facilitate collaboration between industry, academia, and research institutions across departments. 

Key Highlights of the Promotion of Research and Innovation in the Pharma MedTech Sector (PRIP) Scheme 

Transformative Objective: PRIP aims to shift India's pharmaceutical sector from cost-focused to innovation-based growth by strengthening research infrastructure. 

Research Infrastructure: Component A focuses on establishing Centers of Excellence (CoEs) at NIPERs, fostering a world-class research environment with a financial outlay of INR 700 Cr. 

Priority Areas: Component B promotes pharmaceutical research by encouraging work in priority areas including new chemical entities, complex generics, medical devices, stem cell therapy, orphan drugs, and anti-microbial resistance. It provides financial assistance for industries, MSMEs, SMEs, startups, and academic research, with a financial outlay of INR 4250 Cr. 

Scheme Benefits: 

Development of Research Infrastructure: The scheme aims to build a world-class research atmosphere at NIPERs and other institutes, nurturing a pool of qualified and trained students. 

Industry-Academia Linkages: PRIP will promote industry-academia linkages, fostering collaboration between the private sector and government institutes. 

Focus on Priority Areas: Emphasis on priority areas will enable India's pharmaceutical industry to leapfrog and strengthen its global position, as innovation accounts for two-thirds of global pharmaceutical opportunities. 

Commercially Viable Products: The scheme will facilitate the launch of commercially viable products, accelerating revenue growth in the Indian pharmaceutical sector and creating employment opportunities. 

Healthcare Solutions: PRIP will help develop affordable, accessible solutions for primary healthcare concerns, reducing the healthcare burden. 


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