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Wednesday, Feb 06, 2002

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Industry lauds R&D orientation

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Feb. 5

THE pro-R&D pharmaceutical policy received an all-round applause from the industry.

Mr B.K. Raizada, Senior-VP, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, told Business Line that the policy was a positive development. With the preliminary information made available on price control, he said that only 26 per cent of the total market would come under price control.

For Ranbaxy per se, about 10 per cent of its turnover would come under price control, he said. In terms of numbers, the span reduction worked out to about 37 of the total 74 drugs, he said.

Mr Harindar Sikka, spokesperson of Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, also said that the policy would give R&D in the country a fillip, particularly in emerging areas like biotech.

Indian Drug Manufacturers Association representative, Mr Wakankar, pointed out that the policy was an improvement from the last one. However, he said that it fell short of expectations on price control. The association expected price control to be reduced to about 25 drugs, but now it hovers around 37, he said.

Our Mumbai Bureau adds: The pharmaceutical industry has welcomed the measures announced in the drug policy. By and large, it seemed to have encompassed most of the long-standing demands of the industry, especially that of research and development, said analysts.

Mr D.G. Shah, Secretary-General of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, a consortium of 11 leading pharma firms in the country, said the policy had addressed three key issues.

"Three issues relating to pricing, regulatory infrastructure for research and development and exports have been adequately addressed in the policy," he said.

Patents and Research have been given special emphasis in the policy that will help the industry strengthen its R&D initiatives keeping in mind the post-2005 scenario, said a top official from a leading Indian pharma company.

The most important issue of DPCO had been formulated on expected lines, said an analyst.

"The policy states that bulk drugs of formulations exceeding sales of Rs 25 crore and in which any one formulator has 50 per cent market-share will come under price control.

This means that multinational companies, especially Aventis Pharma and Novartis, could be considerably affected," he said.

"Aventis Pharma's major brands such as Daonil which has a turnover of Rs 45 crore and Avil could be under price control if one goes by the specifications in the policy," said an industry watcher.

Also, the over Rs 70-crore brand of Novartis India, Voveran, could mean significant ramifications to the company's topline and bottomline.

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