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'Govt should lower barriers to critical therapies in Budget'

July 9, 2014

Business Today spoke to Bhasker Iyer, Divisional Vice President and head of Abbott's pharmaceuticals in India on his expectations from Budget. 

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Any policy should be measured against two key goals:  supporting the needs of patients today, and supporting the future by sustaining an economic environment that fosters continued investment in India. Pharmaceutical policies should benefit patients by creating sustainable access to innovative products and ensuring availability of quality medicines.  These policies should also build a robust and competitive pharmaceutical environment which encourages and promotes manufacturing, R& D and innovation as well as continued investment.

To maintain India's growth momentum, there is a need to create an atmosphere of confidence and trust which will enable the government to achieve its goals on access and essential drugs.A substantial increase in allocation towards health care will support the government as it seeks to increase access to health care for its citizens.

Among fiscal measures, the government should continue policies that promote manufacturing and lower barriers to critical therapies.  A good example of this kind of policy is the customs duty exemption for life-saving drugs and medical devices.  

The new government has identified reviving the manufacturing sector as a key growth lever to further enhance India's competitiveness and investments in pharma manufacturing and R&D. Reforms in taxation and labour laws could furtherhelp towards that goal. Capability building and promotion of FDI are also critical for the growth of the industry.

(From E. Kumar Sharma)

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