India's Kumar eyes a one-stop shop on pharmaceuticals

India's alphabet soup of ministries and agencies that have a role in national pharmaceutical policies will have to get to know each other better under the latest big idea to streamline decision-making and set policies.

Chemicals and Fertilizer Minister Ananth Kumar, who has the sector in his portfolio, said that as early as next week a high-level committee led by Pharmaceuticals Secretary V.K. Subburaj will meet and start to look into setting up a single-window clearance system, Press Trust of India (PTI) reports.

Now, decision-making powers in pharmaceutical policy for patents, licensing and pricing are with different departments such as the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) for IP; drug licenses are handled by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) under the Health Ministry; and pricing is controlled by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), under the Pharmaceuticals Department.

"It (the committee) will suggest a mechanism for single-window clearance for the pharmaceuticals industry," Kumar told PTI.

"This coordination committee will comprise members from all these departments."

Of course the best-laid plans will mean getting many others on board, including the government departments on Science and Technology, Bio-technology and Environment and Health and Family Welfare.

And don't forget the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA), Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association (BDMA), Association of Indian Medical Devices Industry (AIMED), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and many others.

But, PTI said, Kumar is undaunted in his mission to raise the productivity of the domestic pharma industry to "ensure the health security of the country."

"This step in line with Prime Minister (Narendra Modi's) initiative of promoting 'Make in India'," Kumar added.

- here's the story carried in Business Standard