In the next 10 to 15 years, India's pharmaceutical sector can grow five times and in the growth process, innovation should act as a catalyst, said a senior official.
"While India has achieved a good position in generic drugs and is self reliant but India has the potential to become a drug discovery destination. The generic drug market may grow another five times over a period of time - another 10 or 15 years and drug innovation should act as a catalyst to that growth," V.K. Subburaj, secretary in department of pharmaceuticals of the chemicals and fertilizers ministry.
Attending the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research - Kolkata's (NIPER) fourth convocation at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology campus, Subburaj, who is also the chairman of NIPER's steering committee, said India is now trying to focus on drug development and discovery for urban diseases and diseases that do not have a proper treatment protocol.
"Some companies are developing drugs for Alzheimer's, some for arthritis. Indian institutes, especially the NIPERs should do research and innovation in this area," he said.
He said another thrust area for the pharmaceutical sector should be on improving the quality of existing units.
"There are 12, 000 pharma units in the country. Only 14 to 15 percent are complying with good manufacturing practices. Remaining 85 percent are very small and located in various places.
"So they should concentrate on upgrading themselves to the WHO standards and that only will give more confidence to other countries. Today India means high quality generic drugs," he said, adding the Indian government wants to make medical devices indigenously.
Quizzed on Baba Ramdev's AIDS cure, Subburaj declined to comment but said every discipline of complementary medicine has some benefits.
Union Minister of State for Health and AYUSH Shripad Naik had recently said the union health ministry could use Baba Ramdev's reported cure to HIV/AIDS if it is clinically cleared.