India's pharmaceutical roadmap by October end

Friday, 26 September 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The unresolved tussle over conducting clinical trials on non-rodent animals will not feature in a comprehensive report of the Indian pharmaceutical industry being prepared by experts.

The report, which is to be finalised by October end, would focus on the gaps in infrastructure that could enable India realise its potential of becoming a major centre for new drug development, said R.A. Mashelkar, director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

He is also head of the expert panel.

"We are in the midst of finalising our report, which we hope to present by October 27," said Mashelkar, addressing the concluding session of a two-day international meet on India's potential as a centre of clinical research.

Mashelkar urged the organisers, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), to forward the recommendations of the global experts at the meet so that they could be incorporated in the final report.

"Going beyond the interim report, we would be stressing the need for a central drug administrative body, focus on steps to promote, document and codify traditional medicines and new challenges in clinical trials. The draft is being prepared and will be discussed further by two sub-committees," Mashelkar said.

He, however, refused to be drawn into the long drawn controversy of drug trials on animals that had been stalled by activists in the country and said the issue would not be part of the final report.

According to the renowned scientist, "Opportunities coming up in India are visible for all to see."

Mashelkar said by 2010, India could expect the services sector to generate 50 million jobs and $200 million revenue -- provided efforts were made to bridge gaps in infrastructure, like beefing up expertise to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry for quality control and providing patent protection.

The move to set up a central drug administrative body would help reinforce India's advantages of a billion people plus its homogenous mix of diverse population for genomic-based drug research, he said.

But quality and ethical concerns had to be addressed.

In his capacity as chairman of the Quality Council of India, Mashelkar said efforts were afoot to promote its activities to spread awareness and encourage voluntary adherence of quality standards by manufacturers of all products, whether machinery or consumer durables.

Source: IANS
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