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Health ministry asks task force on pharma sector to expedite its report

Joseph Alexander, New Delhi
Monday, October 3, 2011, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The high-level task force, set up by the Union health ministry to address multiple issues faced by the pharmaceutical industry, is yet to submit its report and running behind schedule already by three months. The Ministry has hence asked the panel to expedite process and submit the recommendations at the earliest.

The panel was set up by the Ministry to evolve comprehensive and long term strategy for addressing various issues faced by the Indian pharmaceutical industry in March with the mandate to submit report within three months. However, even after six months, the report is yet to be finalised, prompting the ministry to issue a reminder.

The 12-member panel, headed by Secretary of Health Research and the DG of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and co-chaired by the DGHS, held its first meeting on June 6 and decided to constitute six sub-groups to deliberate on different terms of reference given to the task force.

The sub-groups were formed on Drug Discovery and Research & Development, Intellectual Property Rights, Promoting Indigenous Production of Bulk Drugs, Takeover of Indian Pharma Companies, Pricing of Drugs & Generic Drugs, and Spurious and Adulterated Drugs.

Sources said the sub-groups had not yet submitted their reports to the Task Force. The Ministry has now requested the task force chairman to submit the report to the government at the earliest, after garnering and compiling the inputs from the sub-groups, sources said.

The task force has members drawn from National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, Department of Industry Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), Mumbai, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), Mumbai, Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), Mumbai, Federation of Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs, Gurgaon, Confederation of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry (CIPI), Bulk Drug Manufacturers’ Association (BDMA), Hyderabad, SME Pharma Industry Confederation (SPIC), New Delhi and Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) as the Member Secretary.

The panel was asked to evolve short, medium and long term policy and strategy to make India as a hub for drug discovery, research and development. It has to evolve strategies to further the interests of Indian pharma industry in the light of issues related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and recommend strategies to capitalize the opportunity of 60 to 80 billion US$ worth of drugs going off patent over next five years.

It will frame measures to assure national drug security by promoting indigenous production of bulk drugs, preventing take-over of Indian pharma industry by MNCs, controlling drug pricing and promoting generic drugs. It will recommend measures to assure adequate availability of quality generic drugs at affordable prices. The panel is expected to suggest steps to tackle the problem of spurious drugs – use of anti counterfeit technologies, consider and advise on any other issue incidental, and devise roadmaps for implementation of all recommended measures.


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