The domestic pharmaceutical industry expects an increase in fund allocation for the healthcare sector, focusing on policies that encourage R&D activities and continuation of tax concessions on various drugs in the upcoming Union Budget. The industry is trying to make it easier to do business for the private sector, by simplification of various processes.
The budget allocation should be increased from the current 1.8 per cent of GDP to 2.5- 3 per cent, as envisaged in the National Health Policy 2017 along with a separate allocation for biopharmaceutical sector R&D by the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India, OPPI President S Sridhar told PTI.
Sridhar noted that the government should continue with the existing customs duty concessions for medicines, as any discontinuation thereof in the current scenario will affect the accessibility of such medicines at affordable price. He said that import duty exemptions for rare diseases innovators developed globally should be taken into account, as proposed by the NPRD.
In addition to the focus on simplification and making the process industry-friendly, with specific provisions for eliminating bottlenecks, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance Secretary General Sudarshan Jain said that innovation and R&D are critical for the long-term growth of the industry.
This will help in meeting unmet patient needs in an affordable manner. He said that they are looking forward to the budget that will help in fuelling innovation and advancing the Indian pharmaceutical industry from Make in India to Discover and Make in India.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare industry body NATHEALTH stated that it is important to create and build integrated capabilities like telemedicine, home and senior care, so that people can access quality and critical healthcare services equitably.
The need for hospitals in tier 2 and 3 cities with adequate infrastructure such as diagnostic centers, oxygen beds, ICUs and oxygen plants is something that the pandemic has made us realize the need for increased budget outlay and greater investments. This will help in creating employment opportunities and increasing health system resilience, NATHEALTH President Harsh Mahajan said.
He said that the need for the hour was to allocate funds and introduce targeted skilling and medical education programmes that can address the shortage of skilled healthcare manpower in the nation.
The sector has not been able to derive the benefits of the GST transition. In the post-GST regime, the embedded taxes in the sector have increased compared to pre-GST scenarios. Mahajan said that it is important to rationalize GST to unlock the embedded credit that is trapped in the healthcare value chain.
The Union Budget 2022 will be presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.