Business & Economy

No shortage of medicines to deal with coronavirus, says Sadananda Gowda

NetIndian News Network

Gandhinagar, March 6, 2020

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers V Sadananda Gowda said here on Thursday that there was no shortage of medicines in the country to deal with the outbreak of coronavirus.

Inaugurating India Pharma & Medical Device 2020 conference, Gowda said, so far, the Government has been able to successfully restrict the spread of the virus in India due to strong surveillance and monitoring system.

The global outbreak has not only posed an immense challenge to the pharma sector but also opened up a window of opportunity for the sector. The preparedness of Government, hospitals, medical institutions and the pharma sector to deal with coronavirus in any eventuality has been strong and firmed up, he said.

The Minister stressed the need to reduce dependency on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) imports by making India self-sufficient in API manufacturing. The pharma companies should take a cue from this emerging situation and take steps to increase their capacity in API manufacturing.

Gowda said the potential of the pharma sector is very high. The growing population, increasing prosperity and rising awareness towards health provide a very good incentive to make further investment in this sector.

If these opportunities are seized properly, the market size of the Indian Pharma Industry can reach to more than $ 100 billion by 2025 while the Medical Devices industry can reach to $ 50 billion by 2025.

The Government has formulated schemes for development of bulk drug park and medical device park under which the Centre provides a lumpsum amount as grant in aid to the State Governments for building common facility centres in the park.

“We have received several proposals from States like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh which is under active consideration in the Department,” he added.

In developing countries, where a large section of the population may still be poor, and where out of pocket medical expenditure may be very high vis-à-vis their income, affordability of medicines is one of the prime concerns of society as a whole.

There is no doubt that the pharma industry has delivered on this account by manufacturing and supply in the country and abroad. However, a lot more is left to be achieved on this front, he said.

Gowda said that to improve the affordability of quality generic medicine, the Government was implementing Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).

Generic medicines sold at dedicated Jan Aushadhi stores are cheaper by at least 50% and for some even by 90%. The response of people has been tremendous. He urged pharmaceutical companies to focus on R & D and launch newer drugs in the market keeping in mind affordability considerations in developing countries.

The Indian pharma sector is growing at 12% and the growth of the medical device sector is 20%.