Government needs to allocate more funds towards research and development (R&D), innovation in pharmaceuticals and medical tourism and infrastructure in health sectors, industry experts said as part of their pre-Budget expectations.
Indian pharmaceutical industry, being the sunrise sector for the country, has been providing the world with affordable quality-assured medicines. It is a science-based and knowledge-driven industry, with scientific advances occurring at a rapid pace. The industry is worth around $50 billion today and aspires to grow to $120 billion-$130 billion by 2030 and $450 billion by 2047, according to government estimates.
“To achieve this vision, the Union Budget 2023-2024 should help fuel innovation and R&D, which will set the pace for propelling the pharmaceutical industry forward. The budget should outline supportive policies, simplified regulations, and simple GST norms to aid in the development of the pharmaceutical industry,” Sudarshan Jain, Secretary General, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance said.
“Measures to facilitate the ease of doing business will increase investment and contribute to the industry's long-term growth. We are looking forward to the Government of India's support in this,” he said.
India is among the most preferred destinations globally for medical tourism and therefore, industry experts have called for increased policy support to encourage, facilitate medical value travel to India, develop medical value travel (MVT) as an organised sector. Further, India is also facing shortage of foc
“Another critical area is addressing the shortage of healthcare professionals – by identifying doctors, nurses and technical staff willing to work in Tier 2/3 cities and looking at non-traditional ways to double the number of doctors,” said Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD & CEO, Fortis Healthcare.
“We should look at best practices adopted in universities abroad (fall/summer admission pattern) to increase seats in existing medical colleges,” he said.
Further, Raghuvanshi said that the sector needs lower cost financing through tax incentives for both existing and new healthcare projects. “For new projects, the government should provide tax holiday period of 15 years and for existing projects, tax relief for 10 years as re-investment support. Declaring healthcare as a national priority sector and classifying it on the same lines as Agriculture (priority-sector lending), will give banks the flexibility to lend to private healthcare institutions, on longer tenures, at lower rates,” he said.
India’s healthcare infrastructure remains grossly inadequate and falls short of the minimum World Health Organization (WHO) requirements. India has a total of 7,13,986 government hospital beds, which amounts to 0.55 beds per 1,000 people as per the National Health Profile 2019 data, out of which just 5%-8% are ICU beds. Indian population has a single doctor for 1,445 people in the country.
“It is imperative to build infrastructural capabilities so that people have greater access to quality and critical healthcare services. Viability gap funding by the Government is essential to set up hospitals in tier-1 and tier-2 cities, encouraging increased investment in the healthcare infrastructure. Uniform adoption of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is another imperative which call for clearly defined delivery models for innovative modules developed by private players,” Dr Shravan Subramanyam, President, NATHEALTH said.
“As we prepare for the post-pandemic era, stable policy frameworks and incentives to help the healthcare sector remain viable- investment via FDI, expanding reach, investing in technology and innovation, reinforcing patient safety and adding to the skilled professionals of India,” he said.
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