Invest more in R&D, develop new markets to boost pharma exports: Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu

New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday asked pharma firms to increase R&D investments and develop new markets to boost the exports.

He also called for finding ways to make healthcare more affordable to people by reducing costs.

Regions like Latin America and Africa hold huge export potential for Indian pharmaceutical products, Prabhu said here while inaugurating the international exhibition of pharma and healthcare (iPHEX) here.

"Make more investments in R&D activities so that the pipeline (for new medicines) do not get dry," he said, adding that research and development investments will domestic growth.

The government is taking steps to boost pharma exports such as seeking greater market access for India's products in countries like China.

 Invest more in R&D, develop new markets to boost pharma exports: Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu

Union commerce & industry minister Suresh Prabhu. AFP

"China has agreed to organise a round table meet with our regulators. This will help in addressing market penetration issues," he added.

In 2017-18, the country's pharma exports stood at about $17 billion.

He further said that increasing cost of healthcare is a global concern and the Indian industry needs to work on this area to overcome the challenge.

Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the market size of the global pharma industry is over $1 trillion and it holds huge potential for countries like India.

"We have to make healthcare affordable," she said.

S Eswara Reddy, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), said that they are taking steps to promote ease of doing business in the sector.

He informed that it has been decided to increase the validity of WHO (World Health Organisation) GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certification to three years for two years currently.

The move would help reduce delay in the registration process and promote exports, he said, adding that applications are now processed and approved online.

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Updated Date: May 08, 2018 15:38:52 IST