The Budget has recognised the need for boosting innovation in the pharmaceutical industry and the focus on healthcare indirectly helps the pharma sector as well, according to experts. 

“For pharma, announcements on a new programme to promote research and innovation through centres of excellence, collaboration with ICMR laboratories, encouragement to investment in R&D point to much-anticipated support to innovation in pharma,’” Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories said. 

Allocation of over 2 per cent of GDP to health, dedicated multi-disciplinary courses for medical devices, the mission to eliminate sickle-cell anaemia and centres of excellence for artificial intelligence for cutting-edge solutions were other highlights, according to Reddy.

Role of innovation

According to Krishna Ella, Founder and Executive Chairman, Bharat Biotech, the provision of facilities for research and development and the encouragement for industry investment in R&D is a testament to the government’s recognition of the crucial role that innovation and technology will play in the country’s future.

“Encouraging ICMR to partner with industry and medical colleges will help foster collaboration and drive innovation in the health sector,’‘ Ella said. 

R Uday Bhaskar, Director-General, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) said encouraging R&D in pharma is a welcome step.

“Pharmexcil has been requesting the government for the same for a long. Future is for bio pharmaceuticals, complex generics, which needs a lot of investments and hence industry needs support,’‘ Bhaskar added. 

Sudarshan Jain, Secretary General, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance said Indian pharmaceutical industry is a knowledge-driven sector with R&D being core to the growth. ``The Union Budget 2023 aims to provide stimulus towards innovation with the announcement of the promotion of research and innovation programme in pharmaceuticals through Centres of Excellence,’‘ he added. 

Sanjeev Jain Joint MD Akums Pharmaceutical said:  ‘‘we appreciate that the union budget 2023 has considered the industry ‘s request for incentives to boost R&D investments by introducing a new programme for pharmaceutical research. We were expecting separate allocations for formulation and APIs. We await to see further details on this announcement.’‘

Promoting research and innovation in healthcare by opening up ICMR labs for collaborative research with medical colleges and private sector would be of immense help in improving healthcare and also create opportunities for research and innovation across the healthcare spectrum, said K Hari Prasad,  President, Apollo Group – Hospitals.