I am excited to be in India this week to discuss the scientific landscape of pharmaceutical research and development. Everywhere I go I see so much potential for India to become a leader in the discovery and development of innovative medicines. India has a large cadre of well-trained pharmaceutical scientists and has more U.S. FDA-approved pharmaceutical facilities than any other foreign country. This country is ripe for growth in discovering and developing new medicines, not only for the people of India but others around the world.
In my meetings here, I emphasized the importance to India to become more consistent in its clinical trial regime. To lead in drug development, companies must have clarity in the process and procedures for clinical trials. Estimates suggest that only 2% of global clinical trials are conducted in India—and this is down from an estimate of 11% in 2011, with reports that even Indian industry is moving clinical trials outside the country. I know that Indian regulators take this seriously, and I talked about how PhRMA and the research-based industry can help support the already important work that India is doing to strengthen its regulatory and innovation framework.
The Indian Government has the opportunity to create a system that will foster a stronger local innovative pharmaceutical industry that will advance novel treatments in India, help Indian firms to become even more competitive on a global scale, and help achieve the goals of “Make in India.” In my discussions, I related that these pharmaceutical companies are well positioned and, in fact, keen to share our experience of regulatory best practices and expertise with India. I can see the commitment to reach this goal by everyone with whom I talk. We are hopeful that the Indian Government will work toward implementing the right policies to foster growth and development in the biopharmaceutical research sector. I am eager to work here and bring colleagues along so that we can make India’s dream of being a global player in the innovative pharmaceutical sector a reality.
Bill Chin, M.D. Dr. Bill Chin is the former chief medical officer of PhRMA and led the Scientific & Regulatory Advocacy department as executive vice president through the fall of 2017.