Pharma industry wants Budget to announce incentives for conducting R&D

Published on 27 January, 2022 / Published by The Economic Times

As India battles its way out of successive waves of COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for increased allocation for the healthcare sector has gained momentum. The pharma industry is a critical part of the overall healthcare sector and is seeking greater push from the government to improve the R&D facility along with measures to improve the ease of doing business.

"An increase in the budgetary allocation from the current 1.8 per cent of the GDP to 2.5-3 per cent, as envisaged in the National Health Policy 2017 along with a separate allocation for the bio-pharmaceutical sector R&D is imperative," Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) President S Sridhar told PTI.

The plans of a dedicated fund for driving innovation in the pharma industry haven't really fructified.

The draft R&D policy prepared by government also lays emphasis on funding for innovation in pharma and medical technology sector.

The industry is seeking tax benefits for expenditure done on conducting reserach. An industry executive told Times of India that the companies setting up innovation hubs should be given tax incentives.

"Additional measures towards improving ease of doing business in the pharma sector with emphasis on simplification and making the process industry-friendly, with specific provisions for eliminating bottlenecks will encourage investment, thus, contributing to the long-term growth of the industry," Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) Secretary General Sudarshan Jain said adding that for the knowledge-driven pharmaceutical industry, innovation and R&D is critical.

Also on the wish list is hiking customs duty on medical devices to boost domestic manufacturing. India imports Rs 46,000 crore worth of medical equipment and is 80% import dependent, Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device industry, told Times of India.

This article was originally published on The Economic Times