With the intent to promote research and development in the pharmaceutical and MedTech sector, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers came out with a notification on 16th August 2023 pertaining to the allocation of Rs. 700 Crore for setting up seven ‘centres of excellence’ across numerous National Institutes of Pharmaceutical, Education and Research (NIPERs).
With a plan to formally launch the scheme in September, the Central Government would also be empowered to pick up equity within the range of 5 – 10% in the projects undertaken by the private players against the allocated fund. Moreover, it is proposed that the Scheme be divided into two parts – one for preparing capacity in the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and secondly for providing support to the private sector for developing research capabilities.
According to the scheme, the seven National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education & Research (NIPERs) in various states shall lay their focus upon research in numerous categories such as anti-viral and anti-bacterial drugs discovery, development of medical devices and equipment, phytopharmaceutical and biological therapeutics and many other streams. Additionally, the focus of the scheme has also been on transforming India’s pharma and MedTech sector from a cost-based system to an innovation – based framework of growth which would be possible by developing and empowering the research infrastructure of the country.
The scheme has also identified the priority areas of development in the medical and pharmaceutical sector and divided them into six priority areas where a financial outlay of Rs. 5,000/- Crores over a period of five years starting from the year 2023 – 2024 to 2027 – 2028 have been laid down. Creation of numerous committees for the smooth and effective execution of the scheme. For instance, an Empowered Committee (EC) under the chairmanship and directions of the CEO – NITI Aayog is also proposed to be set – up for monitoring and administering the scheme. The deliverables of Centres of Excellence (CoE) have also been proposed to be set – up at the NIPERs which shall be reviewed based on their effectiveness and ability to deliver.
Numerous other committees would also include the ‘Project Appraisal and Approval Committee’, ‘Technical Committee’, ‘Project Management Agency’ or PMA which shall be responsible for providing secretarial, managerial and implementation support along with carrying out other responsibilities as assigned by the ministry.
It is proposed that the impact of the scheme shall be on focusing upon certain areas of priority and importance which shall aid the Indian pharma sector to develop rapidly and strengthen its position and global market share along with the development of research infrastructure and creation of a pool of qualified and trained students. This scheme would therefore not only enable the Indian pharmaceutical and MedTech players to develop, excel and meet the demands of the growing population but also enable Indian exports of medical equipment and supplies to the global markets.