Government of India has recently announced the Draft Pharmaceutical Policy 2017 which has left Indian pharmaceutical industry with a plenty of ifs and buts. The policy has been introduced to guide and foster our pharma industry. By promoting indigenous drug production, enhancing research and development facilities and encouraging good-quality drugs; this policy is expected to make essential medicines available at affordable prices for common public. This new multiple-objective strategy comprises of different mechanisms- pricing mechanism, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and compulsory license.
In Indian pharmaceutical industry, drugs are sold under individual brand names that may lead to brand-wise promotions and a huge price variation for two drugs with same contents. Also, allowing the medicines in pharmacopeial names is positively going to bring some new forces in our pharmaceutical industry. On other hand, the new draft policy suggests selling single-ingredient drugs under the pharmacopeial names too. This is definitely going to accelerate the price competitiveness in Indian pharmaceutical industry, while depending upon two main things as under:
At first, the Government needs to make sure that the chemists are not paid incentives and bonus to dispense costlier medicines that are manufactured by some certain pharmaceutical companies. But on other side, this draft pharma policy allows drug manufacturers to stamp their brand names on the package. So ultimately, it is not difficult for the chemists to prescribe the lucrative pharmaceutical companies’ drugs. If we see this closely, the target audience for pharmaceutical companies has become the chemists rather than the doctors. In this situation, no price competitiveness will be developed and no benefit is going to be in the patients’ kitty.
Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) drugs and patented drugs have been omitted from the compulsion of being sold under pharmacopeial names. So, there are more chances of pharmaceutical companies to turn towards Fixed Dose Combination drugs so that they can maintain their brands.
There are a plenty of objectives to be achieved through the new Draft Pharmaceutical Policy 2017 in upcoming years. But at the same time, it doesn’t give much clear picture and leaves many points uncovered which are to be addressed soon (especially for the sake of drug manufacturers). And as far as the price competitiveness is taken into consideration, this new draft policy may not come with the support to Indian pharmaceutical industry unless both the above points are addressed properly.