Production-linked incentive schemes should also focus on companies providing packaging materials and other services in addition to manufacturers of branded pharmaceutical items to reduce import dependence, according to Bharat Biotech Executive Director Sai Prasad.

He emphasised shifting the focus to innovative pharmaceutical products to enhance the margins for industry players.

"We already have policies like production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes and research-based schemes and these policies are going to be very helpful for the sector. It is our view that such policies should also focus on companies which provide goods and services to the pharma industry," Prasad told PTI in an interaction.

“The incentives need to be given to single-use consumer companies, raw material packaging firms and other service providers in the pharmaceutical supply chain,” he added.

He noted that the country witnessed shortage of various raw materials and consumer durables during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Lots of consumer durables, raw materials and packing materials were in short supply because we are not making them here in the country. It is very important that we focus on schemes for all these segments as well," Prasad said.

Currently, the government through the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) is currently implementing three PLI schemes — Bulk Drugs (₹6,940 crore), Medical Devices (₹3,420 crore) and Pharmaceuticals (₹15,000 crore) — to promote manufacturing activity.

“We as a country are focussed on large-scale manufacturing that is cost-based manufacturing and that has to move towards innovative products, where there will be more margins for manufacturing companies, I think that’s where the industry and ecosystem have to move towards,” he said.

On the vaccine segment, Prasad noted that the companies need to focus more on R&D and innovation.

On regulatory mechanisms, he stated that it takes several months to get approvals for importing some of the critical raw materials, which hampers product development.

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