The measures announced in the budget could trigger a rise in demand for medicines but those within the Indian pharma feel this alone may not help. "Unless, the current aberrations in implementation of the pricing policy is corrected, the country may witness imbalance between the growing demand and supply of medicines, which may remain stagnant," says D.G. Shah, Secretary General of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance that has some of the leading Indian pharma companies as its members.
He is referring to health schemes and proposal for more medical colleges resulting in more doctors prescribing medicines. "All these are steps towards universal healthcare making medicines affordable to a large section of the population. The proposal for 10 crore families may make treatment of cardiac disorders and oncology affordable to a very large section of the society," he says.
"The proposal for 10 crore families is good, devil lies in the detail as one is still not clear as to who will be in control - whether it will be the centre or the state governments. Who will administer it and what will be the recovery mechanisms are still some questions," says Dr B. S. Ajai Kumar, Chairman and CEO, HealthCare Global Enterprises.
"While there is no immediate impact for the pharma industry but the move towards making medicines affordable and accessible to larger sections of society is a move in the right direction," feels Kedar Upadhye, Global CFO, Cipla.