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New Delhi : As part of activities to commemorate the occasion of 75th anniversary of Indian independence during the year long ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, organised a webinar on “Affordability and Innovation: Ensuring Quality Drugs for All” on October 29, 2021, through video conferencing.

The webinar was chaired by Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, and was graced by S Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals. Participants from industry, academia, Central and State governments, Price Monitoring Resource Units (PMRUs), civil society, and patient advocacy groups from all over the country joined the Webinar.

Prof. Raghavan, in his address, emphasised the need for Indian pharma industry to gear to address challenges arising out of climate change, biodiversity, and environmental impacts. He spoke on necessity of strong industry academia linkages and combinatorial approach of computational and experimental work to push for new drug discovery.

Speaking on the occasion, S Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, highlighted the fact that NPPA has been at the forefront of commitment of the government to ensure affordable medicine to the patients. She also mentioned about government’s support to industry through PLI scheme to innovate the capacities in biologics, gene cell therapy, complex generics, and medicine of the future.

In his welcome address, Kamlesh Kumar Pant, Chairman, NPPA, while welcoming the participants to the webinar, highlighted the role played by NPPA in making medicine available at affordable prices.  He also mentioned about higher prices being approved by NPPA for proposals with incremental innovations.

The panel discussions included experts drawn from various fields i.e., Dr. Y K Gupta, Vice-Chair SNCM & Member, SCAMHP;  Pankaj Patel, Chairman of Zydus Cadila; Dr. S Chandrasekhar, Director, CSIR-IICT;  Manoj Jhalani, Director, Department of UHC/Health Systems & Life Course, Regional Office for South-East Asia, World Health Organization (WHO);  Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest India, and Dr. Ratna Devi, Chair of the International Alliance of patient Organisation (IAPO).

The panelists highlighted the various facets that touch upon this important area of affordability and innovation.  It was agreed that for a strong innovative environment in the country, a multi-pronged strategy and approach would be desirable.  Prof. Javed Iqbal, the moderator, in his concluding remarks highlighted the importance of strong industry academia linkages as the research can lead to solutions that are economic, effective, and efficient in their delivery, according to a PIB release.