“We already have policies like production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes and research-based schemes and these policies are going to be very helpful for the sector… It is our view that such policies should also focus on companies which provide goods and services to the pharma industry,” Prasad told PTI in an interaction.
The incentives also need to be given to incentive single-use consumer companies, raw material packaging firms and other service providers in the pharmaceutical supply chain, he added.
“If the ecosystem is strong only then the branded companies could be strong,” Prasad said.
He noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the country will witness a shortage of various raw materials and consumer durables.
“Lots of consumer durables, raw materials and packing materials were in short supply because we are not making them here in the country. It is very important that we focus on schemes for all these segments as well,” Prasad said.
Currently, the government through the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) is currently implementing three PLI schemes — Bulk Drugs (Rs 6,940 crore), Medical Devices (Rs 3,420 crore) and Pharmaceuticals (Rs 15,000 crore) — to promote manufacturing activity.
Prasad noted that the domestic pharma sector should “focus upon innovation.”
“We as a country are focused on large-scale manufacturing that is cost-based manufacturing and that has to move towards innovative products, where there will be more margins for manufacturing companies, where I think that’s where the industry and ecosystem has to move towards, he said.
On the vaccine segment, Prasad noted that the companies need to focus more on R&D and innovation.
“Our prowess in manufacturing is very high but at the same time we lack in R&D and innovation. Only a few companies are doing that and more and more companies need to invest towards that in order to move up the value chain,” he said.
There is a need to come with innovative molecules, he added.
Some companies are doing that on a small scale and it needs to evolve into a much larger scale, Prasad said.
On regulatory mechanisms, he stated that it takes several months to get approvals for importing some of the critical raw materials, which hampers the product development.
“Another part is the researchers in academic institutions… I think they should be incentivised… a lot of countries have done that successfully so that academic talent is given the ability to promote and convert their stuff to commercial stage products,” Prasad said.