Biopharma: India’s New Sunrise Sector
India is frequently referred to as the pharmacy to the world. While our generics industry has indeed made a name for itself globally, we are yet to see any priority being accorded to new drug discovery. Dr Frank Lichtenberg of the Columbia University and the National Bureau of Economic Research studied 30 developing and high income countries, for a decade beginning in 2000, to establish clearly that pharmaceutical innovation serves to enhance longevity, increase productivity and reduce medical expenditure. It is time to prioritize research and move from ‘Make in India’ to ‘Innovate in India’.
It has been observed that countries with strong access to medicines have a strong IP regime and vice-versa. Intellectual property rights are granted to protect and incentivize innovation.
The Indian government now needs to allocate budget to increase healthcare funding and incentivize innovation. We need regulations that help create the competitive policy eco-system necessary to attract domestic and foreign investment and facilitate the growth of a robust and innovative biopharmaceutical sector in India.
India has been a traditional laggard in innovation and new product development. However, of late we have seen some initiatives that have helped us move from 81 to 66 in the ranking of the Global Innovation Index 2016 – ‘Winning with Global Innovation’. India now ranks at the top, among South Asian countries in the Global Innovation Index. Our innovation, particularly in the information technology, pharmaceutical and entertainment sectors is beginning to be adopted and is finding a place in the commercial space.