1) Increase government expenditure on healthcare
The government allocation for health should increase to at least 3 per cent of GDP in the short term and 5 per cent in the medium and long term. It is currently at 1.2 per cent, which is abysmally low.
2) Work towards increasing accessibility of medicines and healthcare services
>>The government should work towards increasing access of high-quality medicines and healthcare services, especially for the poor and the vulnerable sections of the society across the country.
>>It should make universal healthcare a priority and create a road map for ensuring quality, affordability and accessibility of medicines and treatment to the patients at all times.
3) Favorable policies to enhance innovation and drive collaboration
>>As India unfortunately leads the world in terms of share of disease burden, innovation leading to new drugs is critical if we are to address unmet medical need in the country.
>>The government's support for innovation R&D is required in the form of tax incentives, regulations and grants for various research projects in the sector.
>>The government also needs to treat discovery R&D separately and incentivise organisations that are making progress in this area, as investment for taking a single molecule to market runs into millions of dollars.
4) R&D incentives
>>The Budget should increase weighted tax deduction on R&D from 200 per cent to 250 per cent and expand the scope of the benefit to include R&D expenses incurred outside the facility like bio-equivalence and clinical studies.
5) Incentives for making Indian pharmaceutical exports globally competitive
>>IT and pharmaceuticals are the two sectors that contribute immensely to India's exports. In the wake of global uncertainties, the government should take steps to boost exports and make it globally competitive.
>>Reducing (if not altogether eliminating) the Minimum Alternative Tax on the pharmaceutical and biotech industry will go a long way in promoting pharmaceutical exports.
6) Accord priority status to pharmaceutical and healthcare
>>A long-standing demand of the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors has been to accord 'priority status' to these sectors just like infrastructure. This will act as a catalyst for not only attracting funds, but will also provide gainful employment to millions of Indians.
Glenn Saldanha is Chairman & MD at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.