The government will soon set up 10 pharma clusters in the country, which will provide common facilities to the pharmaceutical industry, helping them to reduce up to 25 per cent of the cost and become globally competitive, union minister o0f chemicals and fertilisers, Ananth Kumar, said.
Releasing the proceedings of the 12th National Pharmaceuticals Conclave in the capital today, the minister said a strategy has been devised for early implementation of these clusters.
The minister said while the cluster approach will help make medicines cheaper, the government wants to ensure that all four pillars of the industry - quality, affordability, availability and stability - are in position.
He said the cluster strategy is key to government's efforts to make healthcare affordable to the poor in the country, and this requires innovative strategies, like supply of generic medicines, building domestic capacity in bulk drugs, and making pharma sector competitive.
He said a unified policy for regulation and administration is required for the pharmaceutical industry, and for this, he said, he has recommended the setting up of a separate department.
On the issue of bulk drugs production in the country, he said, his ministry has received the Katoch committee report and that an action plan is being prepared for its implementation. Once its recommendations are put in place, it will make Indian industry viable and competitive, he added.
The Katoch committee recommendations also include single window clearance for licensing of drugs in the country.
The government had set up a committee of secretaries, headed by secretary, health research, V M Katoch, to suggest ways of reducing dependence on bulk drug imports from China.
The committee had recommended setting up an empowered panel of secretaries headed by secretary, pharmaceuticals, and comprising secretaries in environment, commerce and industry ministries.
It has recommended provision of land at concessional rates, setting up of mega pharma parks, providing power, removing cross subsidy charges that's almost 50 per cent of power charges.
India meets about 80 per cent of its demand of bulk drugs or API, used as raw materials by the pharmaceutical industry, from Chinese imports.
"I have one medicine to improve the overall health of the pharma sector and that is to develop bulk drugs and increase its domestic production. It will eventually make the pharma sector globally competitive," the minister had said at an earlier occasion.