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Karnataka govt forms Vision Group for pharma & medical devices to fast track projects and spur job growth

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Karnataka government has constituted a Vision Group for pharma and medical devices. The key objective is to formulate the necessary programmes to encourage the sector in the state. The Group is chaired by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD Biocon. The members include the Karnataka drugs controller and the Karnataka Drugs and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (KDPMA) too.

Early this year, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had announced that the state government would form a Vision Group headed by sectoral experts for pharma and medical equipment. The state’s finance department allocated Rs. 100 lakh for the grant in 2017-18 to implement the new scheme under the Export and Trade Promotion. The Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director of Industries and Commerce recommended to the state government to accord approval.

The Vision Group is represented by experts from the pharma and medical equipment manufacturing sectors. DA Prasanna, chairman and managing director, Acunova Life sciences LLP, heads the medical devices sector. The members of this team are Dr. Vijay Chandru, founder and chairman Strand Life Sciences, Dinesh Lodha, CEO, Suture India , Vishwaprasad Alva managing director, Skanray Technologies, Rakesh Khurana, CEO, BPL Medical Technologies and Annaswamy Vaidheesh, vice president, South Asia and MD, GlaxoSmithKline.

The official members are additional chief secretary to the government, commerce & industries, commissioner for Industrial Development and director, Industries & Commerce and Karnataka drugs controller, BT Khanapure.

Representing the industry associations are chairman Confederation of Indian Industry, Karnataka branch and KDPMA with Sunil Attavar, president and Harish K Jain secretary.  From the hospital sector, director or representative from the Narayana Hrudayalaya is also a member.

The key areas of focus of the Group are investment in Greenfield and Brownfield projects and Pharma Parks; fast tracking clearances for pharma projects based on jobs and investment; seek subsidies for improvements in quality infrastructure and training of drug inspectors; and e-portal for the pharma sector with online applications and registrations from pharmacies and companies. “MedTech is also key to this Vision Group and I have suggested that D A Prasanna be co-opted to this group to lead this division. I would also like the government to roll out a Rare& Orphan Disease Policy,” Shaw told Pharmabiz.

On the issues expected to be raised and sorted out are pharma regulations, drug pricing, drug procurement, E-format for greater transparency and preferential incentives for ‘Made in Karnataka’ drugs and med-tech devices, she added.

KDPMA is happy that the Government of Karnataka has notified the formation of the Vision Group which was envisioned as a part of the Karnataka Pharma Policy. The group will work to fulfil the mandate of the Pharma Policy, to Increase investment in both pharma and Medical Devices. It will also work to improve the ease of doing business through many e-governance initiatives for clearances, procurement and approvals, focus on skills development and build a bridge between academia and industry. Besides it will showcase Karnataka as a hub of quality manufacturing so as to attract the best of national and international companies, stated Attavar.

According to Shaw, the industry in Karnataka has been pressing for a Pharma Park, but the issue is not about establishing it but it is more about investments. The state must aim to become the most preferred destination based on quality infrastructure and availability of high-end talent.


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