India needs more R&D spending on healthcare, researchers say

India must spend more on healthcare research and development if it wants to cut its dependence on foreign drugs, technology and knowledge, top research officials said this week.

The scientists and officials said the country spends less than $1 per capita on healthcare research and only 3% of that figure was spent on public health research, according to a report in the Economic Times.

The country has "significant mismatches between funding and disease-burden trends," Soumya Swaminathan, director general of the Indian Council for Medical Research, said in the report.

Swaminathan said the government "must complete the chain of product development and ensure it is used in the public health programme" and expand India's clinical trial network.

Swaminathan was joined by Nobel laureate Serge Haroche who said India must use "local, critical thinking" to solve uniquely Indian problems.

G.J. Samathanam, a former adviser to India's science and technology department, said India has "a great role to play in novel drug discovery," adding that the country's researchers must become involved in "high-risk and high resource-oriented long-term research."

Samathanam said India's drug development industry spent less than other countries such as Japan and the United States and that the country had "potential," but simply needed to spend more.

- here's the report from the Economic Times