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'Policy, infrastructure main hurdles in Indian pharma R&D'

Last Updated: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 14:54

Washington: Amid serious concerns among US businesses and lawmakers over intellectual property protection in India, a new report says clinical trials, infrastructure and policy are the biggest obstacles in driving research and development innovation at scale in India's healthcare sector.

"While both global and Indian industry leaders opine that India's intellectual property (IP) situation needs to be addressed and clarified, they have highlighted that in fact clinical trials, infrastructure and policy are the biggest obstacles for India to meet its potential of driving R&D innovation at scale," says the report titled 'Crossing the Next Horizon: Will India play a Meaningful Role in Global Biopharma Innovation?'.

The McKinsey report commissioned by the USA-India Chamber of Commerce would be released at the US-India BioPharma and Healthcare Summit 2013 in Boston tomorrow.

To be attended by the top pharmaceutical companies, academicians, scientists and officials from both India and the US, the day-long event would focus on therapeutic areas of oncology and infectious diseases.

"This report clearly lays out the myths and facts about the biopharma innovation in India. The findings should help senior management of biopharma companies fine tune their R&D strategy and help leverage India's pockets of R&D strengths," said Karun Rishi, president of USA India Chamber of Commerce.

According to excerpts of the report, many global R&D heads and CEOs emphasise the need for Indian companies to shift from 'deals' that offer only cost arbitrage to alliances that focus on innovation, quality and service.

The report notes that emerging markets such as India can play a significant role in collaborations, providing not only more cost effective innovation, but access to new talent, technologies and assets to fill currently dry pipelines.

The Indian healthcare sector has tripled in size in the last decade from USD 23 billion in 2002 to USD 70 billion today, but India continues to lag peer countries in spending, outcomes, health manpower and infrastructure, it said.

Within healthcare, the Indian pharma market has also shown strong growth from USD 6 billion in 2005 to USD 18 billion today and is expected to grow to USD 45 billion by 2020, the report said.

"Discussions with several global and Indian industry leaders indicate a widespread acknowledgement of India's potential for R&D innovation and while the fundamental drivers of the 'India advantage' exist, the opportunity has not played out as expected," the report said.

"India holds a vast and largely under-tapped pool of drug innovation resources and capabilities," said Dr Ajay Dhankhar, a senior McKinsey partner and leader of its global R&D practice.

The report recommends the Indian government fix and clarify relevant policies and regulations around clinical trials and IP; focus cross-border and cross-entity collaboration on building talent and infrastructure across clinical trials, PI training and basic research.


First Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 14:54
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