Today’s pharma industry has gone beyond molecular structures and rolling out tablets. Since the first Pharma Policy by the Indian government in 1986, the industry has come a long way and today every third pill consumed in the world is from India.
Keynote Address: Dr. Ronald Heslegrave
Moderator: Dr. Shiban Ganju
• Dr. V.K, Sharma
• Dr. Vinod Nikhra
• Dr. Anjana Batni
• Ashish Kumar
It all started with a chemical reaction and hence it’s very obvious that it can only be controlled with a series of chemical reactions. And, so came the pharma industry more than 200 years ago.
That’s history, today the pharma industry, especially in India is very modern in its approach and is shouldering the health sector with its innovative approach and modern innovations. But growing back to the future, India is also taking lead to promote its age-old Ayurveda that is as effective as any other modern science.Opening the floor to this high voltage discussion, Dr. Shiban Ganju Atrimed Pharmaceuticals in the US said, “Until now human body has been an amalgamation of cells, tissues and organs. Now, the human body has emerged as a conglomeration of biochemical process that are scattered around and work in close coordination with each other with the sole purpose of keeping the human body alive.
“Another baffling reality for me is that Ayurveda introduces us to the benefits of plants and their properties. After all, trees and plants appeared much before the pharma industry. Plants have been in existence for more than two billion years and our pharma industry is less than 200 years old. Not only that, plants have a self-preserving system and can fight any bacterial attack or any foreign infection; that makes them the most natural source for our pharma industry – even in these modern times. More so in the modern times!” he concluded his thoughts with his faith in age-old Ayurveda.
Closer to the ground, Dr. V.K. Sharma shared some startling facts about the Indian pharma sector: “We are the most economical medicine manufacturer in the world. India is the third largest producer in volume and 10th largest in business globally. Thirty percent of US requirements are catered by Indian pharma manufacturers. We export to almost 200 countries in the world. One out of every three pills consumed in the world is from India. And all this has been achieved in the last 30 years when the Indian government came out with its Pharma policy in 1986.”
“Despite that India pharma industry has been facing many challenges and to address those issues now there’s a new Drug & Pharma policy that will encourage more research and development in the country making the pharma industry more robust and bigger than ever.”
Dr. Vinod Nikhra highlighted the contribution of Indian pharma industry beyond the “pill factor” as he emphasized the broad developments in the sector and what makes it click internationally.
“India has been on the forefront of providing some of the leading medical facilities that are uniquely innovative and ingenious. Indian pharma industry has gone beyond molecular contributions and is in fact manufacturing some ground breaking gadgets and machines that contribute to curing people from extreme ailments like heart and lung diseases, transplants and coronary diseases,” he said.
On the flip side, he added, “Of course pricing is an issue that is faced by the industry and the irony is that despite the price being much cheaper than the international market, it still remains out of reach of most Indians. For this we are counting on government to extend some encouraging and bold steps to make medical facilities and good health within the reach of all.”
Highlighting the problems of the Indian Pharma industry, Ashish Kumar from Medicea Technology Solutions said that, “The problem that we are trying to solve is two-fold. First one is facing the encroachment of fake and counterfeit drugs which is growing at 25% CAGR per year and is valued at $10 billion annually. We are working closely with IBM to address this problem and are on the brink of perfecting a fool-proof system that will block every fake or counterfeit drug in the country.”
“Second project that we are working on is to track and design demographics of drug consumption. Use of a particular drug in a zone or a larger region can give a very useful insight to health authorities as to what is the cause of those ailments that are leading to high consumption of particular drugs in that particular area.”
Dr. Anjana Batni, an Ayurveda researcher from Atrimed Biotech brought glory to Indian past highlighting the relevance and importance of age-old Ayurveda that is getting increasingly accepted universally and is completing the modern medicine and not competing with it.
Highlighting the contributions of her organization, she said, “With the intention to modernize Ayurveda, we are collating data about the plants and their use. Ayurveda texts identify how to diagnose, manage and how to cure diseases; and they also have vast information on plant molecules and so far, less than 10 percent of these plant molecules identified in Ayurveda texts are in practice. Our efforts are to classify all the plant molecules and store them digitally for use by Ayurveda practitioners and other medical platforms. As of now we have a library of 2.8 lakh plant molecules identified and digitally stored at our facility.”
“We are soon embarking on clinical trials of our discoveries and we hope that our efforts can bridge the gap between modern pharma and Ayurveda with our discoveries,” concluded Dr Batni to a welcome applause from the audience.
Maj Gen Jagtar Singh
“Outbreaks are a huge threat in the army as we have a large body of human beings living together. For this we have a large army of efficient doctors and medical staff to contain such outbreaks. The second challenge is harsh ground realities as our soldiers work in extreme conditions. To treat them at these extreme conditions, the Indian army has done some specific researches that have been accepted all over the world and not just with our soldiers.”
Dr Rishikesha T. Krishnan
“Innovations in health care must consider three aspects: Begin with identifying core functionalities of equipment without having to sacrifice on the safety aspect. Secondly, start from scratch. Build upwards and incorporate all the technical features that you feel are essential to the product; downscaling features will not necessarily downscale your cost; lastly, collaborate and team up with other who will complement your product, effort and your intentions. There’s no one entity that has all the knowledge and resources to develop any product in entirety.”
Dr S. Venkataramanaiah
“Data clearly indicates that there’s a huge demand for private players in the health sector. Everyone is and needs to be medically insured and ensured of good health by private or a government body. On the other hand, health care has some major deficiencies like availability of medical help at anytime and anywhere. Like you have road-side assistance available all over the country, such a facility for health and medical urgencies is still not available.”
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By Vigyan Arya