India considers standalone pharmaceutical ministry

Government officials in India are reportedly giving serious consideration to creating a standalone pharmaceuticals ministry, bringing all of the regulatory bodies under one tent.

The head of one of the ministries that now share pharma oversight, Ananth Kumar of Chemicals and Fertilizers, said he and Minister of State Hansraj Ahir, plan to present the proposal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Under their plan, one ministry that included the Drug Controller General of India, the National Pharma Pricing Authority, and Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation would bring drug approvals and trials, pricing, imports and other drug-related responsibilities under a single oversight authority.

Kumar said that given the size of the industry and considering the consumer, it makes sense to have just one ministry, according to the Press Trust of India news service.

As for medical devices, one source said officials are considering several options, one to include them in a pharma ministry, but others said the government could establish a separate department or agency for device oversight.

Some sources also said government considerations even included bringing pharmaceutical patents and licensing into the contemplated ministry.

- here's the story from PTI in Echo of India