New Delhi: Union Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar said there will be a separate ministry for pharma and medical devices sector in the next one year, and assured that the government will soon implement the Katoch panel recommendations to cut bulk drugs import from China.
“I want to see that pharmaceutical and medical devices become a separate ministry and we are already in touch with PMO and we are pursuing that it becomes a separate ministry. I assure you in next one year you will emerge as a separate entity as pharma and medical devices ministry,” Kumar said at an event organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce.
He added that the government recognises the pharma sector as a ‘sunshine industry’ having a tremendous potential for growth.
Kumar said that in order to benefit the domestic pharma industry, the government plans to implement the recommendations by the Katoch Committee in the next 100 days.
“In the next 100 days, we are going to implement the Katoch committee report for the benefit of the pharma industry. We have already accepted it, it is in circulation. We are having discussions with the PMO also, and to implement some of the recommendations even if we have to go to the Cabinet, we will go,” the Minister said.
The government had set set up a committee headed by V M Katoch, Secretary, Health Research, to suggest ways to reduce the dependence on bulk drug imports from China.
India currently meets about 80 per cent of its demand of bulk drugs or API, used as raw materials by the pharmaceutical industry, from Chinese imports.
On the inverted duty structure hampering the pharma and medical devices industries, Kumar said the government has been following up the issue for the last one-and-a-half years.
“There is a huge question of FTA and inverted duty structure which needs to be attempted…I request office bearers of PHD Chamber of Commerce to come out with a memorandum regarding these inverted duties which will be discussed with the finance ministry itself before the Budget, that is an assurance,” Kumar said.
“I will lead the delegation…and we will put forth the concerns of the industry regarding this inverted duty structure,” he added.
Kumar also ruled out doing away with the price control on essential and life savings drugs asserting that the Modi government is pro-poor though assured that Industry will continue to be consulted.
On price control mechanism, Kumar said: “…I have not seen any sector in India without any regulation…Industry should not be saying that we would set our own benchmarks, we will set our own quality control, we will testify ourselves and it is the best, we don’t require any regulation…we have 10,000 registered drug entrepreneurs in this country and what type of medicines they are producing, you also know and I also know.”
“Unfortunately in our country there are populations of different economic strata. We have population in remote places, you (industries) don’t go there. Therefore, all these things are there, the state has to intervene regarding quality, availability, affordability, we can’t run away from our duty,” he added.
He further said the government, for the betterment of people, is in the process of revising the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2011.
“It is Health Ministry’s mandate to make NLEM list, they are improving the list and we have also given our points to them as to what should be added in the list. Blood pressure, cardiac, cancer, HIV/AIDS medicines should be added,” Kumar said.
He also directed the Secretary Department of Pharmaceuticals V K Subburaj to initiate discussions regarding various IPR issue.
When asked about the recommendations of the committee constituted to look into pharma product margins, Kumar said: “We had constituted a committee that committee has submitted its report to us. We are going to come out with a decision regarding this report very soon.Union Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar