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TN doctor to speak in UK Parliament - Oviya MedSafe

Chennai: Coimbatore-based Dr J Vijay Venkatraman, a diabetologist, pharmacovigilance physician and entrepreneur has been invited by the British South India Council of Commerce to speak at the UK South India Business Meet to be held at the UK Parliament, London on 5 November.

Founder of Oviya MedSafe, a global Pharmacovigilance Consulting and Drug Safety services providing organisation in India in 2012 and in the UK in 2014. Dr Vijay speaks to News Today about his interests and the state of the pharmaceutical market.

Q: How is the Indian pharmaceutical market? What steps need to be taken for the betterment of the Indian pharmaceutical industry?

A: Indian pharmaceutical industry ranks third in volume and 13 in value, according to a 2014 report. It is projected to grow to US$ 100 billion by 2025, from the current figure of US$ 20 billion, at 20 per cent CAGR. They Indian market also exports drugs to other companies and research and development have resulted in new drugs and new chemical entities.

However, there is a need to upgrade the drug regulatory system like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), UK.

Q. What are the differences between foreign drugs and Indian drugs?

A: Almost all the drugs in the Indian market are originally discovered by foreign companies. These drugs started getting manufactured by Indian companies once their patents expired or as results of pacts between Indian generic companies and foreign innovator companies for marketing the foreign companies drugs in India.

Another reason is that foreign companies nowadays manufacture many of their drugs in India, either in their own manufacturing plants or by using contract manufacturers.

Q: How to make foreign drugs cheaper for Indian market?

A: Prices of many pharmaceutical products in India are kept under control by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority. In fact, almost all drugs are already cheaper in India than in any part of the developed world.

Q: How to identify fake drugs and how is the awareness among the people on this issue?

A: Fake drugs pose a serious concern to the health of the consumers and to the reputation of the drug manufacturer. When such drugs are identified abroad with ‘Made in India’ labels it deframes the reputation.

Empowering our drug regulatory system with more people with adequate training so that enough checks can be at the manufacturing plants, packaging units, distribution network hubs and all other parts of the supply chain is key to approaching a solution to this problem. In India, prescription drugs are still available over the counter and are sold, many a time by unqualified personnel without the supervision of dispensing pharmacists, without prescription.

Adding to the woe is that many products claiming to belong to drugs of alternative systems of Medicine are sold over the counter without any approval.

Q: Is India being seen as a global pharmaceutical services hub too? What are the key drivers for the growth of this segment?

A: Yes. With regulations pertaining to the pharmaceutical industry, especially in the domain of Drug Safety, becoming more stringent throughout the globe, pharmaceutical companies are necessitated to increase their headcounts in these departments. However, it is becoming challenging to get in the regulated markets enough numbers of qualified people who can be groomed into trained professionals within a short period. Hence, India came up as a natural destination for investment in this segment. The number of pharmacovigilance professionals has drastically increased from about 300 in 2005 to about 15000 in 2015.

Q: Speaking of Patient Safety, how far has India come? Does India mandate monitoring of adverse drug experiences, especially after approval of the drug?

A: Although Indian Pharmacovigilance has to go a long way in order to be comparable with the established pharmacovigilance systems of western countries, acknowledgement on the progress against many odds, within a relatively short time has to be given. The new and current Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI) was started in July 2010 and the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India has been its National Coordination Centre since April 2011.

Due to the proper functioning of this programme, India is now the seventh largest contributor of suspected adverse drug reaction reports to the data pool of the Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC), the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring. Nevertheless, all stakeholders of Indian Pharmacovigilance like the pharmaceutical industry, the drug regulatory agency (CDSCO), pharmacovigilance service providers, drug regulatory consultants, medical practitioners, other healthcare professionals, etc need to join hands to improve the Patient Safety scenario in India.

Q: How does it feel to be invited to speak at the UK South India Business Meet?

A: It is an honour to have been invited to speak at the UK South India Business Meet which is to be held at the UK Parliament. It is evident that the pharmaceutical hubs in India are Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Apart from Hyderabad, the potential of South India in the domain of Pharmaceuticals has not been tapped.

Source: News Today – Chennai – 26-Oct-2015

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