General Studies IIHealth

Global Innovation Summit of the Pharmaceutical sector


Text of PM’s address at the Inaugural Session of the Global Innovation Summit 2021

Key Highlights Global Innovation Summit :

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first Global Innovation Summit of the Pharmaceutical sector on November 18, 2021 via video conferencing.
  • The two-day Summit will comprise 12 sessions and more than 40 national as well as international speakers who discuss a range of subjects. 
  • The Summit will see participation of leading members of domestic & global Pharma Industries, investors, officials, and researchers from institutes like- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, IIM Ahmedabad, John Hopkins Institute etc.


Aim of the Summit

This summit is a distinctive initiative, that will be held with the aim of bringing together the key Indian and international stakeholders from the government, academia, industry, investors, and researchers for discussing and strategizing priorities to foster an innovation ecosystem in pharmaceuticals industry in India. The summit will also highlight the opportunities in Indian Pharmaceuticals industry, that has huge potential for growth.

About Indian Pharma Sector

  • From 2000-2019 Pharma sector alone contributed for FDI inflows worth $16.2bn and it is expected to rise during COVID pandemic. 
  • Recent Economic Survey acclaimed Pharma sector as one of the top 5 sector which reduce trade deficit of India 
  • More than 80% worlds Anti Retro-viral drugs depend on India 
  • India is the largest producer of vaccines even before COVID pandemic and controlled more than 50% of global supplies
  • Bio-Pharma is the largest sector contributing to 62% of the total revenue 
  • It is estimated that medical tourism in the country can grow and become a 9 billion dollars industry this year 
  • 20% of global generic medicine has been controlled by India. 

How Indian Pharma Sector is regulated? 

  • Under Drugs and Cosmetics Act was the central legislation that regulates India’s drug and cosmetic import, manufacture, distribution and sale. 
  • The Act clearly defines the spurious drugs, adulterated drugs and mis branded drugs
  • This also established the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) 
  • The Act establishes the regulatory control over the manufacture and sale of drugs 
  • State Health department has to regulate the manufacturing, sales and distribution of drugs 
  • Drug Inspectors will control the implementation at ground level. 

Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) 

  • Central Drug Authority for discharging functions assigned under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 
  • The CDSCO works in the Directorate General of Health services, is a division in Ministry of Health and Family welfare 
  • The CDSCO is headed by Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). 
  • It was advised by Drug Technical Advisory Board and Drug Consultative Committe 

Potential lead for enormous growth of Pharma Sector: 

  • The growing population of over a billion along with diversity among people offers An excellent centre for clinical trials 
  • Focus on low cost, efficient drugs lead to growth of the sector in terms of Value and Volume 
  • Low cost of production and Low R&D costs in India 
  • huge patient base from domestic and from foreign as a medical tourist 
  • Improving healthcare infrastructure in India 
  • An increase in lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and central nervous system. 
  • Penetration of health insurance is increased 
  • Adoption of patented products by Indian Pharma Sector. 
  • Patent expiration and aging population in the US, Europe, and Japan

Challenges in the Pharma Sector: 

  • From regulator side 
    • Doing a post-mortem kind of work by inspecting the drugs after getting into market 
    • Low data collection on drugs coupled with insufficient training to drug inspector leading to huge malpractice among drug sellers  
  • From Marketing side 
    • Medical representatives and drug sellers inefficient training to meet the man power along with prevalence of Quack(fake doctor) increases risk of life of patients 
    • Pharma companies unethical pratice of providing freebies and gifts to Doctors to promote their drugs 
  • Quality is getting compromised due to high demand for drugs among people. This is evident by wide scale recall of drugs in India. 
  • Low R&D investment: India only invests 0.7% of its GDP for research and investment. This is very low compare to the demand in the sector 
  • International Challenges 
    • Global Pharma companies accuse Indian pharma companies as an abuser of Patent laws and criticise India’s Compulsory Licensing Policies. 
    • India nearly 90% depend on China for its Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients 
    • The API issue:

  • API or Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient is the raw material used for the production of pharmaceutical drugs. These are the components of the drug that are responsible for the actual curative/ therapeutic function.
  • China is one of the major producers of the APIs- especially in Hubei (of which Wuhan is the capital), Zhejiang and Jiangsu (neighbouring regions). The API production took a hit due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown in China.
  • This came to affect a significant part of world’s API supply.
  • India, for its part, depends heavily (nearly 90%) on Chinese-manufactured API. Indian firms like Granules India and AurobindoPharma are heavily dependent on Chinese raw materials for manufacturing antibiotics and antiretrovirals.
  • Concerns have been raised about the depleting API inventories in India.
  • This foreign-dependence and declining supply of API is expected to affect India’s ability to supply cheap drugs to the world.


  • Implementing the recommendation of Malshekar committee on drug regulation 
    • Recommend a new structure for the Drug Regulatory System in the country including the setting up of a National Drug Authority 
    • Recommended that the State Drug Control Organisations should be urgently strengthened. 
  • Creating a Digital Database for patients, drug usage and risk associated with the intake of drug 
  • Revise the ethical code for Pharma companies to discontinue freebies and gifts 
  • Government need to Upgrade the quality standards and qualities of Medical representatives and drug sellers. 
  • Promote country specific research for R&D and increasing the R&D spending  
  • Rework with the IPR policies to make Indian Pharma companies for encouraging more patents. 
  • Government need to frame a National Plan on self-sustaining in API’s and avoid over dependence on China. 
  • Government need to frame a policy to Utilize the traditional Knowledge in drug manufacturing  

Though the sector is highly capital intensive, the sector developed into a global leader in Pharma products. Now It is time to implement better policies in regulation and encourage the sector to produce more API’s in India to avoid over dependence. 

Source: PIB



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