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China ahead of India in Pharma | Published: 27th February 2019 | Posted Date: Wednesday 27th February 2019 02:54 AM

TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao along with Prof. Krishnamurthy Subramanian, chief economic adviser of the Government of India, and Jayesh Ranjan during a Coffeetable conversation at HICC on Tuesday.  

Hyderabad: India must face several challenges head-on if it attempts to close the gap with China in the biotechnology race. This was the general consensus among panellists at BioAsia 2019 Life Sciences 4.0 discussion on ‘Can India match China in the ‘Bio’ race’, in Hyderabad.

Quality and pricing of products and emboldening Indian entrepreneurs in healthcare are areas that India must pay more attention to if it wants to catch up with China as a bio competitor.

Managing director of Boehringer Ingelheim, India, Sharad Tyagi, said that in the early 1990s, both countries were talked about as nations with potential.

Today, India is still being talked about as a country with potential while China has leapfrogged ahead by not only realising its potential but “going beyond it”.

He said, “When I look at organisations looking to invest in a country, it is the sentiments about a country that drives the decision. These sentiments are stronger than actual facts and figures.”

“So what are the sentiments? China says, ‘I want to be the biggest, the best’. But the noises you get out of India are ‘I don’t want multinationals’, ‘I don’t want to pay for patents’, ‘I want to control prices’.

“It becomes very difficult for someone sitting miles away and unfamiliar with the ground reality of these messages to say

India is a better place to invest.”Moderator Utkarsh Palnitkar agreed that China’s growth in biotech has been outstanding.

He said, “China stated clearly that it wanted the sector to contribute four per cent of its GDP by 2020, a number that is very large.”

The growth has been underpinned by a number of changes it made, principally the setting up of the China Food and Drug Administration, he noted.

“Rapid clinical trials; massive increase in product launches and the strengthening of its intellectual property rights are reasons why China has leapfrogged in terms of growth in the last two years,” Mr Palnitkar said.

The scale of things in China also gives the country a manufacturing advantage — whether it is their biotech parks or infrastructure.

On the flip side, however, the Chinese language continues to be a barrier to outsiders; its novel products are limited and clinical trial documentation remains difficult and hazardous, added Mr Palnitkar, an independent consultant specialising in Life Sciences.

For its part, India is taking several steps to strengthen the sector in terms of creating new bio policies, increasing clinical trials and increasing quality clinical trials.




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