Amid a rising trend of major Indian pharmaceutical companies being taken over by foreign multinationals, the Centre has decided to set up a task force to look into the problems of the domestic pharmaceuticals industry, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Saturday.

“The task force will look into all policy related, inter-ministerial and Centre-State issues in the health sector,” he said at the first zonal meeting for pharmaceutical companies from western and southern parts of the country.

Mr. Azad assured the industry that the government would extend support to ensure growth of the pharmaceutical sector and asked the industry captains to make sure that the essential drugs reach the poorer sections of the society.

The government would look into drug price control related issues and come up with a long-term policy for the industry, he said.

At the meeting, he assured that the ministry will issue necessary directions to the State so that the genuine manufactures are not harassed under provisions of the Spurious Drugs Bill.

Later, talking to reporters Mr. Azad said that the government would form a long term strategy and create an environment that will help to regain the confidence of the domestic pharmaceutical industry.

The Minister had earlier expressed concern over some of the recent sell-off of Indian companies to foreign multinationals including that of Piramal’s Healthcare Solutions business.

“The Minister expressed concern over the trend and raised the issue of the sale of Piramal’s domestic formulations unit,” industry participants who attended the first zonal meeting for the pharmaceutical companies from the west and southern parts of the country, told reporters here.

“Piramal’s Healthcare Vice-Chairman, Swati Piramal, who also attended the meeting, explained that the money generated from the sale was used to strengthen the research and development of the pharmaceutical company and that the Piramals hold a majority stake in the company and only a part of the group was sold,” they said.

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