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Centre may set up Rs 2,000 crore venture capital fund to promote R&D in pharmaceutical sector

The Centre may set up a venture capital fund of Rs 2,000 crore to promote research and development (R&D) in the pharmaceutical sector.

, ET Bureau|
Jul 04, 2012, 04.23 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Centre may set up a venture capital fund of Rs 2,000 crore to promote research and development (R&D) in the pharmaceutical sector.

The commerce department is in talks with the Exim Bank and some other financial institutions to fund the initiative.

""We are considering a proposal of venture capital fund of Rs 2,000 crore for the drugs industry. We are talking with Exim Bank for this,"" commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma told reporters here after a review meeting of the pharmaceutical sector with industry representatives and government secretaries.

A committee of secretaries that would include secretaries from the commerce department, finance ministry, health ministry, DIPP and the drug controller general of India, will also look at a number of domestic issues troubling the industry. These include calculation of taxation benefit on R&D, funding for R&D, extension of taxation benefit on R&D beyond in-house trials to hospital trials and faster clinical trial procedures.

""We are mindful of the challenges of the sector with regards to financing of R&D, credit costs and duration,"" Sharma said.

The domestic pharma industry is pegged at $ 20 billion and is expected to touch $ 75 billion by the end of this decade. India is the third largest producer of pharma products by volume and the industry is growing at a rate of 15%-20% annually.

India's pharma exports stood at $ 13 billion last year. The country produces a fifth of the generic medicines of the world and about 70% of medicines supplied to poor countries through humanitarian agencies come from India.

Sharma said it was the entry of Indian generic medicines in the global supply chain which started an ethical debate worldwide on generics versus patented drugs, and ultimately the right of every citizen to access affordable quality medicines were upheld. While time and again there have been attempts by multinationals to malign Indian generics as substandard, counterfeit, the resilience of Indian industry has withstood all these challenges.

The minister said the CoS set up to look at problems faced by the pharma sector will hold a review meeting after every three months.

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