Committee of Secretaries will be set up to address the concerns of the industry

The Central Government has decided to set up a venture capital fund of Rs.2,000 crore which will promote research and development (R&D) in the pharmaceutical sector.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the government was in talks with Exim Bank for setting up this fund.

The government’s contribution would be worked out accordingly, he added. Earlier in the day, he reviewed the pharmaceutical sector with the stakeholders and officials of various Ministries.

During the meeting , industry representatives raised issues such as problems in getting approvals from the Health and Family Welfare Ministry. Mr. Sharma said that a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) would be set up to address the concerns of the industry. The CoS would have the Commerce Secretary, the Secretary DIPP and DCGI. “We are mindful of the challenges of the sector with regard to financing of R&D, credit costs and duration, and we are going to address these issues soon,” he added.

India is the third largest producer of pharma products by volume, and the industry is growing at 15-20 per cent annually. The domestic pharmaceutical industry is pegged at $20 billion. It is expected to touch $75 billion by the end of this decade.

India’s pharmaceutical exports stood at $13 billion last year. Officials said the venture capital fund would be established under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode and would help in discovery of new medicines.

The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy is advising the Department of Pharmaceuticals in the process of selecting an agency to design the fund with the aim to make affordable bio-pharmaceutical products by 2020.

At present, there is no dedicated private equity or venture capital fund available in India for research activities in the pharmaceutical sector. The idea of the fund will be to offer financial incentives to companies focussing on research in neglected diseases prevalent in developing countries.

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