Millennium Post

After Ayush & Skill, govt pitches for Pharma Ministry

Aiming to do away with ‘bottlenecks’ in policy making for pharmaceutical sector, the NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to consider establishing a separate ministry dedicated to the industry only. The ministry would comprise all departments that deal with issues related to pharma sector.

While announcing the move, Chemical and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar said, “Considering the size of industry and for the benefit of end user and customers, there is a dire need to create a a separate Pharma Ministry. Therefore, I, along with Minister of State Hansraj Ahir, will approach the Prime Minister after he returns from foreign tour and request him to look into this matter. The new ministry would work as regulator as well as facilitator.”

Banking upon the innovative approach of PM Modi, the Union Minister opined that the former would consider his request positively. “Establishment of two separate ministries --- Ayush and Skill Development -- is the result of Modi’ vision. So we are very much confident that our proposal would be considered and the industry will soon get a separate ministry, said Kumar on the sidelines of a function organised to launch Pharma Jan Samadhan website. Stressing on drugs quality, Kumar said, “The entire pharma sector, which at present is worth Rs 1.8 lakh crore, is based on three pillars - quality, availability and affordability of medicines.” It’s worth mentioning that during the first spell of NDA government, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had created Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to promote small-scale industry.

At present, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and Drug Controller General of India (DGCI), which deal in regulatory control over the import of drugs, approval of new drugs and clinical trials, are governed by Health Ministry. Whereas, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), which sets the price limit on essential medicines, comes under Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry.

Hailing the proposal, a senior official of the ministry said, “The idea is commendable, but it will work only when all the fragmented part of this ministry put together under one umbrella. The yet to be proposed Pharma Ministry makes sense only if CDSCO, DGCI and NPPA could brought together under one ministry,” adding, “ The Centre is contemplating that besides patents, licensing and  pricing can be brought under one roof.”
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