Pharma sector in for an R and D boost from govtThe pharmaceutical industry in India is likely to see added stimulus in coming months. The department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) has put forth a number of proposals to the government which will help boost the pharma sector in the country, said Ashok Kumar, secretary of DoP, on Saturday at the AGM of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI).

One of the proposals includes setting up of 800-900 acre pharma city in Hyderabad, for which talks are already under way with the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) — the organisation that developed the Pharma City at Vishakapatnam.

“Talks are on with APIIC and once a memorandum is signed, work will start. However, this is still in the initial stages and should take about two years,” Mr Kumar said. The idea behind developing a pharma city in Hyderabad was strengthened by the presence of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), which could take care of the human resource needs of the companies.

The department has also proposed developing Chennai, Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata as R&D centres and plans to provide the required infrastructure to attract both MNC and Indian companies to set up their research facilities there to promote innovative research.

“It has also been proposed to develop Tamil Nadu and Gujarat as centres for clean technology and demonstration in partnership with UN South-South Centre. The total content of this for India will be $250,000 to be brought in by the UN, $100,000 by the government of India and $25,000 by each of the states. The states have not yet been consulted on the finances, but that will happen in the next one month,” Mr Kumar said.

The government’s Jan Aushadhi programme to set up generic drug stores in each district of the country is spreading its reach after a successful start in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The government now plans to open centres in Orissa, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. “Four centres have been identified in Orissa and four hospitals in Delhi have offered us space to set up the store,” Mr Kumar added.

The government is also in talks with some vaccine companies for the vaccine development centre, Mr Kumar said. “We want contemporary vaccines to be made here. We are not interested only in manufacturing. If you don’t have a manufacturing plant in India you can import it. We want the R&D centre to be here and it can be done exclusively by the company or in partnership with the government.

At present, we have spoken to two companies about this,” he said. With all these initiatives being proposed by the government to boost the pharma sector and showcase India as an ideal place to conduct end-to-end research, APJ Abdul Kalam said: “It has been predicted that the Indian pharma industry will touch $50 billion by 2015. I think it is possible for the industry to touch $100 billion by 2015 if you start work now.”