The world has come a long way from the days of the bubonic plague and Spanish influenza to the present, and while there is a steady improvement in global health outcomes, changing lifestyles have marked a shift towards increased non-communicable diseases. With the evolving disease environment in India and around the world, greater innovation is needed to identify new, effective interventions and management strategies.

The role of the pharmaceutical sector in India has always been of immense relevance. However, to enable better health outcomes, it is crucial to spur the sector to develop sustainable solutions which address the current disease burden while solving unmet medical needs.

Boosting innovation builds on four Cs–Capacity, Capability, Collaboration and Creation. A capable regulatory environment with single window approval systems, robust talent and infrastructure that can propel rapid drug discovery and development; a robust R&D set-up through increased collaborations amongst the government, regulators, industry, and academia; and mechanisms to incentivise private sector investment are instrumental in generating innovative solutions.

Stakeholders must join hands

Collaborations are key. Over the years, we have witnessed collaborations between different government stakeholders, academic institutions, and industry. It is imperative for cross-sectoral stakeholders to join hands with scientific establishments in pharmaceticals and technology to drive innovation. This will in turn facilitate an exchange of ideas and best practices which will be imperative to building a future-ready sector.

We also need to focus on global harmonisation, thus paving the way for early access to newer therapies. Here, alignment with the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH); an association linking regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry to harmonise scientific aspects of drug registration will be a step in the right direction.

Govt R&D policy

The industry is looking forward to the Government’s upcoming Research and Development policy and India Vision 2047 to build the right capabilities and tech know-how, while keeping patient safety at the core of decision-making. Innovating across the ecosystem will enable accelerated access to universal health coverage, driving better health outcomes for patients, while realising the Government’s vision of the Aatmanirbhar Healthcare Ecosystem.

(The author is Advisor, Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI). Views are personal)