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Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan chaired the Webinar on “Affordability and Innovation: Ensuring Quality Drugs for All”

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 organized a webinar on “Affordability and Innovation: Ensuring Quality Drugs for All” on 29th October, 2021 through video conferencing from 3.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.  The webinar was chaired by Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and was graced by Ms. S. Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals. Participants from industry, academia, Central and State governments, Price Monitoring Resource Units (PMRUs), civil society, patient advocacy groups from all over the country joined the Webinar.

Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, in his address, emphasized the need for Indian pharma industry to gear to address challenges arising out of climate change, biodiversity and environmental impacts. He dwelled 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, Ms. S. Aparna, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticalshighlighted the fact that NPPA has been at the forefront of commitment of the government to ensure affordable medicines to 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 medicines of the future.

In his welcome address, Shri Kamlesh Kumar Pant, Chairman, NPPA, while welcoming the participants to the webinar, highlighted the role played by NPPA in making medicines 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; Shri Pankaj Patel, Chairman of Zydus Cadila; Dr. S. Chandrasekhar, Director, CSIR-IICT; Shri Manoj Jhalani, Director, Department of UHC/Health Systems & Life Course, Regional Office for South-East Asia, World Health Organization (WHO); Shri 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 to be there 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.

Vote of thanks at the webinar was delivered by Dr. Vinod Kotwal, Member Secretary, NPPA,who thanked the PSA, the Chief Guest and Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, moderator, panelists and the participants in the Webinar.