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India Drug Development Should Focus on TB & Malaria Innovations for the Masses

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TB DRUGS

As reported in the Hindu, India’s population needs reliable innovation involving tuberculosis, (TB) HIV and malaria.  S. Eswara Reddy, Drugs Controller General India, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has noted that India still predominantly focuses on generic drug production and that they focus should be moving toward innovative research programs that solve health crisis impacting the Indian people—including base essential disease eradication such as HIV and TB.  Take TB as an example. 220,000 Indians die every year due to TB. Moreover the disease has impacted the Indian economy by an estimated $340 billion over the past decade.  According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, India has the highest TB burden of any country and represents India’s biggest health issue.

So back to Mr. Reddy’s address at the 29th convocation of the Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (SRIHER). He noted “India has been recognized as the world’s pharmacy, the biggest supplier of high quality, low priced generic medicines and vaccines that form the backbone of affordable care throughout the developing world. It has been our endeavor to promote generic drugs so as to make the medicines most affordable.”

Reddy noted that the regulatory emphasizes safety with its’ wide ranging Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) reporting across 250 ADR monitoring centers across the country.

At times we can see discrepancies with what large swathes of the global population needs (e.g. basic medicines for TB, malaria, HIV, etc.) on the one hand, and the incredibly pricey direction of developed world sponsors (e.g. gene therapy treatments for nearly $1 million per treatment for rare disease). The market for therapeutic treatment becomes in some regards more polarized by the year.

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