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Healthy year ahead for pharma sector

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 25

THE Economic Survey has painted a bright future for the pharmaceuticals industry, especially if the focus is on research and development.

It stated that, for the first time in many years, the international pharmaceutical industry is finding great opportunities in India. "The process of consolidation, which has become a generalised phenomenon in the world pharmaceutical industry, has started taking place in India. And with its rich scientific talent and research capabilities, supported by the Intellectual Property Protection regime, the country is well set to take a great leap forward," it said.

The country recently moved into a product patent regime after the Government promulgated the Patent (Amendments) Ordinance, 2004. Apart from manufacture of drugs, the product patent regime would help the industry tap outsourcing of clinical research. The Patent Ordinance also provides for adequate safeguards to protect the interest of the domestic industry and the citizens from any increase in drug prices.

Currently, sales for the sector have been pegged at $4 billion, with over $3 billion in exports. The focus under the R&D effort is to encourage development of new molecules. A provision of Rs 150 crore has been made under the Pharmaceutical Research and Development Support Fund. A Drug Development Promotion Board, under the Department of Science and Technology, has been set up for the utilisation of this fund.

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