THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Anand Nambiar, managing director of Merck India, speaks about the state of the industry and the challenges it faces
Express: The increase in prices of medicines has been a growing concern. Big pharma companies are held responsible for the rising cost of healthcare.
Nambiar: Its not true that all our medicines are costly. We have medicines that are priced a rupee here. On the flipside, it should be noted we spent 1.5 billion dollars on research and development. But we were unable to create a new molecule in the last 10-15 years. It is a big problem, a blackhole in pharma. But, we cannot cut back on the reseacrh funding.
Express: The central government and state governments have been infusing markets with cheaper generic drugs. Will it pose a problems for your business?
Nambiar: The arrival of generic drugs is welcome. But, the regulation of generic drugs is absent. We should understand India is the largest marketplace for counterfeit medicines and measures for quality control are inadequate.
A company like ours keeps the safety of the patients paramount and people trust us for that. So, we don’t think generic drugs would pose a huge problem for us.
Express: What are the major challenges for the healthcare sector in the country?
Nambiar: Access has been a major concern. Many people in rural India still have to shell out their months income to get a patient to a nearby hospital. Another issue is the lack of medical insurance cover.