Healthcare is becoming accessible and affordable in the country with the government taking steps to enhance the overall infrastructure, including doubling MBBS seats, Union Health Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya said on Monday.
The minister, who also holds the Chemicals and Fertilisers portfolio, noted that the country is witnessing the rise of a new India and all the stakeholders have to ensure that the pharma sector also becomes part of this growth.
The government is working on a roadmap for the healthcare ecosystem 'Heal by India' and 'Heal in India', which would pave the way for providing manpower for treatment to the world along with promoting affordable healthcare in India, Mandaviya noted.
He added that the government does not see the health sector from the commercial aspect but as a service initiative for all.
"So we need to take care of our needs and that of the world as well," Mandaviya said while speaking at the 7th edition of India Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Conference 2022.
The three-day event, from April 25-27, will see government, industry, and academia come together to brainstorm for a roadmap for the sector for the next 25 years.
Mandaviya noted that the government has been taking steps to make healthcare both affordable and accessible.
"Medical colleges have doubled, MBBS seats which used to be in the range of 55,000 seats will go up to 1 lakh this year...similarly 1.17 lakh health and wellness centers have been established across the country...district hospitals are being strengthened besides there are AIIMS coming up for tertiary needs, " the minister said.
Conferences like India Pharma and India Medical Device 2022 provide a platform for the industry, academia, and policymakers to brainstorm and draft a plan for the next 25 years for the sector, he added.
Mandaviya further said the country has the capability to sell pharma products all over the globe and also to treat people from all across the world at healthcare facilities spread across the nation.
"We can take care of it in a holistic and comprehensive manner.. we are brainstorming for that," he added.
He said Modi government has been able to provide health security to about 50 crore people in the country.
Mandaviya noted that the government supports industry while staying pro-poor and pro-farmers.
"We just don't make policies in the paper or just give lectures but we make efforts to implement the policy," he said.
Mandaviya, while praising the pharma industry for steps taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, said there were apprehensions across the globe as how India will manage the crisis.
"We showed the world how it can be done. We also proved it again by having a successful vaccination program," he added.
The minister said the way India has managed the COVID-19 pandemic is a global case study.
"Today the entire world community is praising India’s efforts in carrying out the world's largest vaccination drive. We have administered more than 187 crore doses in the country so far which is a commendable feat. When it comes to providing healthcare services, one should not think just for the nation but for the whole world," he added.
The Union minister exhorted that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the energy of the youth has been channelized.
"It is the youth of our country which will propel India to greater heights in the future and hence we should promote Industry- students collaboration. This will not only ensure employability of our youth but will also provide skilled manpower to the industry," Mandaviya stated.
Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Bhagwanth Khuba said there was immense potential for growth for the MedTech sector in the country and it can go from $11 billion to $50 billion by 2025.
He said the industry should make efforts to reduce imports and manufacture more in the country.
"We need to focus on R&D and innovation to ensure quality, accessibility, and affordability in the Indian pharma and medical device sector. India is the pharma hub in the world with our products being the 5th largest in the world. The government is also working to provide industry-friendly policies along with ease of doing business," Khuba added.
Department of Pharmaceuticals Secretary S Aparna said as India prepares for Amrit Kaal, it is a moment in time to redesign aspirations in the pharmaceutical and medical device sector and take the global mantle of leadership.
Highlighting various government initiatives to propel the growth of the pharma sector, she said under the PLI scheme, more than Rs 22,000 crore has already been approved for bulk drugs, and APIs, among others.
Niti Aayog member V K Paul asked the medical equipment makers to see if anything more can be done for devices like ventilators to ensure that next time the industry has a "super perfect system" in place.
"We need to think about how to create the translational research and development pipeline in order to benefit the patients," he added.