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Thrust on R&D in Union Budget a welcome step: Pharma body

The Union Budget’s thrust to encourage investments into research and development is a welcome step, a major pharmaceuticals export body said on Wednesday. Udaya Bhaskar, Director General of Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), a body under the Ministry of Commerce, said if India wants to continue to be a major player then there is a need to spend more on research and innovation. At the same time, the industry also needs to spend a reasonable amount on R&D, he added.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech, said facilities in select ICMR labs will be made available for research by public and private medical college faculty and private sector R&D teams for encouraging collaborative research and innovation.

“Encouraging R&D in pharma is a welcome step. Pharmexcil has been requesting the government for a long time. Future is for bio-pharmaceuticals, complex generics and it needs a lot of investments. The industry needs support,” he said.

Echoing the same view, Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, in a statement, said announcement on the new programme to promote research and innovation through centres of excellence, collaboration with the ICMR laboratories, and encouragement to investment in R&D is a much-anticipated support to innovation in pharmaceuticals.
Reddy said it is an inclusive budget from the Finance Minister with a boost to critical areas such as education, agriculture, healthcare, environment, startups, skilling and others.

“Allocation of over 2 per cent of GDP to health, dedicated multi-disciplinary courses for medical devices, the mission to eliminate sickle-cell anaemia and centres of excellence for artificial intelligence for cutting-edge solutions were other highlights,” he said.

Stating that the budget has set a positive tone for a healthier and more sustainable future for the country, Krishna Ella, Founder and Executive Chairman, Bharat Biotech International Ltd, said the encouragement of ICMR to partner with industry and medical colleges will help foster collaboration and drive innovation in the health sector. “The provision of facilities for research and development and the encouragement for industry investment in R&D is a testament to the government’s recognition of the crucial role that innovation and technology will play in the country’s future,” Ella said.

With such a well-rounded and forward-looking approach, it is no wonder that India is poised to shine brightly on the global stage, he added.

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