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Union Cabinet Approves INR 5000 Cr PRIP Scheme to Boost R&D in Pharma-MedTech Sector 

Written by : Jayati Dubey

September 4, 2023

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The PRIP scheme is poised to support collaboration among pharmaceutical companies, research and innovation institutions, as well as start-up ventures, as it receives the green light with an allocation of INR 5,000 Cr from the Cabinet. 

In a recent development, the Indian Union Cabinet has approved the National Policy on Research and Development and Innovation in the Pharma-MedTech Sector. This development is accompanied by the approval of the Scheme for Promotion of Research and Innovation in the Pharma-MedTech Sector (PRIP), with an allocation of INR 5,000 Cr for the upcoming five-year period from FY24 to FY28. 

Launched by the government in August, the PRIP scheme is founded on the belief that the Indian pharmaceutical industry holds the potential to elevate its current 3.4% share of the global market to an impressive 5% by the year 2030. 

The National Policy on Research and Development in Pharma-MedTech is a comprehensive strategy with a three-fold focus. Firstly, it aims to bolster the regulatory framework within the sector. Secondly, it endeavours to incentivise investment in innovation. Lastly, it seeks to cultivate an ecosystem conducive to innovation and research.  

This translates into accelerating drug discovery and development, facilitating collaboration between industry and academia and streamlining existing policies to optimise research resources. 

The PRIP scheme, with its generous allocation of INR 5,000 Cr, hones in on two primary components. 

The first component involves the establishment of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) within existing institutions to fortify research infrastructure. The second component is geared towards promoting research in priority areas.  

These priority areas include a wide spectrum of fields, such as developing new chemical and biological entities, precision medicines, medical devices, and solutions for combating antimicrobial resistance. 

Currently, research and development activities in the pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors within public institutions are fragmented across various research departments and institutions. The policy's overarching goal is to promote coordination among industry and academia, enhancing overall efficiency and productivity. 

India is home to the world's third-largest pharmaceutical industry by volume, with an approximately $50 billion valuation. While the Indian pharmaceutical sector has made significant strides in supplying affordable and high-quality generic drugs globally, it grapples with certain challenges.  

These challenges include import dependence on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and Key Starting Materials (KSMs), a lag in developing biologics, biosimilars, and other emerging products, and a shortage of technological capacities. 

The PRIP scheme is poised to stimulate collaboration among pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, and start-ups, extending its support to established pharmaceutical giants and burgeoning start-ups alike. 

The holistic approach of the policy, coupled with the PRIP scheme, is anticipated to yield many benefits, such as a reduction in import dependence, an enhancement of overall healthcare indices, the creation of high-end research and innovation jobs, the promotion of collaboration, and the development of world-class research infrastructure. 

As India's pharmaceutical industry aims to expand its global footprint, these initiatives are set to pave the way for transformative growth and innovation in the sector. 


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