Kapil Sibal calls for developing low cost drugs
Bangalore, Jun 7: Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal today urged the stakeholders in the Biotech sector to focus on developing drugs cost of which were affordable to commonman.
Speaking after inagurating the Bangalore Bio-2006, the country's largest Biotech show here, he said that "it is hightime that investor should invest keeping in mind the urgent need to find drugs for serious diseases and at the same time it would at affordable price to commonman.
Mr Sibal said that public funding on inventing new drugs which have become burden on the poor people should be enhanced and expressed concern that it is very much low as compared to western countries. The multinational companies finding it very difficult peg down the cost of manufacturing drugs and looking towards India which has a large pool of talent and low cost economy.
Acknowledging that the Biotechnology was a heavy capital intensive, Mr Sibal urged the Union Government to help the private industry engaged in developing new moleclues and drugs by joining hands with them to produce low cost drugs and drug delivery system.
Referring to statistics that in India only one per cent of the total sales of the BT industry was being put to Research and Development, the Minister said that it is very negligeble amount and urged that it should be enhanced and openioned that the Government of India has a major responsiblity to mitigate the problem.
Presenting a woeful picture on the condition about the health scenario in the country, Mr Sibal said that in country 50 per cent of children were suferring from malnutrition, there was no access for safe drinking water and the diseases like HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Cancer and other tropical diseases which have proved a burden on the economy of the large section of people.
He said that it is a challenge to Biotechnology sector in dealing with the sitaution prevailing in the country and exhorted that if BT needs to go higher it should give attention to all these maladies which are haunting the country.
Stating that the per acre producton has drastically reduced in the country, Mr Sibal said that Biotechnology sector should take it as a challenge and supply high yielding seeds at low cost and he preferred a dialogue between Stakeholders of the BT industry and the Intellectual Property right holders on seeds.
The Minister announced that the Empower Group of Ministers Committee, which met yesterday, had modified the norms for companies which set up their units at the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to get concessions of Excise, customs duty and other related rebates. He said that the companies which seeks to get all these concessions should have a minimum floor area of over 4000 square feet in the SEZ's and IT and BT parks.
Speaking on the occasion, Karantaka Chief Minister H D Kumarasway said that the state government was committed to extend all co-operation and support to both IT and BT industries in the state.
Karnataka, which was open to adopt new and innovative things always, has decided to set up a venture capital fund for both IT and BT. The state govenrment has cleared the long awaited Biotechnology park at a cost of Rs 106 Crore.