Pharma-cos-want-new-govt-to-boost-spendingThe UPA government should scale up government spending on the pharma industry and it should also take measures conducive to research and development (R&D), felt top industry players who spoke to

Piramal Lifesciences vice-chairperson Swati Piramal said: “The Indian industry wanted one party to have a clear majority. The fact that the same government will be in power, which will help speed up reform. We look forward to a new beginning in pharmaceutical policy, especially since Manmohan Singh is pro-research.”

In the past, the price restrictions on pharma products did not encourage companies to spend heavily on R&D, said Ms Piramal.

Echoing her view, Novartis India vice-chairman & managing director Ranjit Shahani said: “The industry is looking for unfettered reform, especially in infrastructure, education and healthcare. I also hope that the education, insurance and pension bills, which have been pending for some time now, will be taken up,” said Mr Shahani.

Cipla chairman YK Hamied told Pharmaquest biz, “There needs to be an increased focus on healthcare to ensure access of affordable healthcare to all. The government should also work towards a monopoly-free environment.”

According to Pfizer managing director Kewal Handa, the government should increase its spending on healthcare from 1% to at least 3%. “In the past five years, the government had done nothing for healthcare. Also, the government should attach importance to family planning,” said Mr Handa.

The proposal to increase the number of drugs under the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), which has put on hold before the elections, are possibly one of the issues the industry hopes the government will not take up.

“I don’t think the cabinet will make it a draconian rule and put all drugs under DPCO. They may not say that the pharma industry will have free reign, but we hope that they wouldn’t increase the number of drugs under DPCO,” said Mr Shahani.

Industry leaders think that the ministries of pharmaceuticals, revenue and allied departments should be staffed with competent people, who understand the industry. “The pharma industry has to be seen as a growth industry, rather than just as one that needs to be regulated. We hope that the new cabinet looks at the pharma sector differently and realise that there is a future potential for a high growth here,” said Mr Handa.

Industry observers feel that this is a chance for the Prime Minister to bring about changes. Corporate India hopes that the government will bring speed, stability, clarity and vision to the economy. “We are glad that the third front didn’t make it. The pharmaceutical industry is looking forward to pro-healthcare reforms,” said an industry analyst.