Date: 11-Mar-2020

FICCI asks govt to adopt healthcare financing policies to increase innovation in pharma

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has recommended to the government that it should adopt healthcare financing policies to increase availability and usage of pharmaceutical innovation. FICCI has made the recommendation in its report, ‘Reshaping India into a life sciences innovation hub’, which was released at the 'India Pharma and India Medical Device 2020', organized by FICCI, jointly with the Department of Pharmaceuticals, at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. "India has come a long way in becoming a hub for manufacturing and supply of generic drugs and is today touted as the pharmacy of the world. The country is still at a nascent stage in terms of its activities in commercially oriented R&D and innovation. Despite being the third largest seller of medicines in the world, India has been able to produce only a handful of novel commercially viable drug molecules," the report stated. FICCI also suggested that government should ensure availability of finance for research and purchase of medicines, and also to create risk-sharing models to incentivise PE/VC funds for making investments in high-risk life sciences R&D for long-term. FICCI has recommended that the government adopt innovative financing models such as debt-type instruments which needs to be institutionalised by partnering with major banks. The report suggests that the government should establish a top-down governance structure and create Centres of Excellence (CoEs) for the segment. It has also recommended enabling access to quality infrastructure and talent and also to create a sound and effective IP, legal and regulatory framework to facilitate knowledge transfer. Government should improve the education level of the workforces based on industry needs building sustainable clinical trial infrastructure and enhance industry-academia collaboration, the report stated. The paper recommends streamlining and fast-tracking the regulatory approval process to boost the innovation in emerging areas such biosimilars and biologics, initiatives such as decreasing the number of authorities involved or specifying a maximum time-limit for approvals and simplifying the documentation and submission requirement, can help facilitate growth.