Swati Piramal: How to Make India a World Leader in Low-Cost Health Care

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Swati Piramal
Swati Piramal is the vice chairperson of Piramal Enterprises and director of Piramal Healthcare. She was the first woman VP of Assocham in 2008. She’s also a member of the Planning Commission and has influenced public policies in health care. In 2012, she was awarded the Padma Shri.

The numbers are startling. The Indian pharmaceutical industry—once the pride of innovation and a leading Indian export to other countries—has slowed from over 17 percent just two years ago to 10 percent this year and trending even lower because the price control regime is due to kick in later this year. On the face of it, this may be seen as being in line with the slowing Indian economy. The truth is not so simple.

The questions are mind-boggling. Why would a government metaphorically handcuff an industry that was once feared to be taking on the power of the world’s largest multinationals and was ahead of China in the sheer strength of scientific prowess? What has happened to a leader in generic medicines that could prove, using clinical trials, that our drugs are as good as that of the West?

Clinical trials approved by the health ministry have dropped from 500 two years ago to nearly zero. When activists petition the Supreme Court and advocate the banning of any studies, the knee-jerk response from the health ministry is to make notifications so absurd that global trials in India are halted by no less a global heavyweight in research than the American National Institutes of Health.

Source: Forbes India (link opens in a new window)

Health Care