The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 26th June, gave its approval for extending grants-in-aid to pharmaceutical companies for developing new drugs for neglected diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, kala-azar, and filariasis. 

The proposal was mooted under the Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Research Programme of the Department of Science & Technology. Department of S&T has been implementing the Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Research Programme (DRPR) since 1994-95 as a Plan Programme to support institutional collaborative R&D projects and infrastructure development in the pharmaceutical sector.

From 2004-05 onwards this programme has extended soft loans to pharma companies to the tune of 70 per cent of total project cost at a simple annual rate of interest of 3 per cent with 10 years of installment repayment period beginning from the end of project duration. An amount of Rs 45 crore during the 11th Five-Year Plan has been earmarked under the extended programme.

This will help in developing new drugs for the neglected diseases of tropical region, which are still a big threat in the Indian sub-continent.