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Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru November 24 , 2021
Pharma entrepreneurs are now earnestly looking at novel and lucrative avenues  to propel affordability of quality medicines for the masses. For ensuring safe and efficacious medicines are accessible,areas like pharmacovigilance and post-marketing surveillance are also coming to the fore for entrepreneurs to explore as business ventures.

There are about 10,000 diseases world over including orphan diseases. However, medicines are available only for 500 diseases which are prevalent mainly in developed countries. The reality is the accelerated pace of technology and new products are being developed and being marketed in a time bound manner, noted Dr Suresh R Saravdekar, vice chairman, Hospital Division, Indian Pharmaceutical Association and honorary consultant, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University.

Yet there are many product gaps and delivery challenges that are seen to remain unmet. This is because the priorities in research are not need-based but market-based. Consequently, the scale of the development does not match the scale of people’s need for better access to medicine, particularly in low and middle income countries. Therefore, pharma entrepreneurs need to capitalize this opportunity. To improve the availability of quality medicines, there is need to look at the present pharmaceutical situation at the global and local level to consider and pursue promising avenues in drug discovery of essential medicines, said Dr Saravdekar.

Addressing on the topic of ‘How to Improve on Availability, Accessibility and Affordability of Medicines in Healthcare : An Entrepreneurial Opportunity for New Pharma Entrants’ organized jointly by the MM College of Pharmacy, Mullana under the aegis of Maharishi Markandeshwar Deemed to be University, and IPA, Hospital Division, Dr Saravdekar said there are many avenues for new entrepreneurs to explore.

Currently pharmaceutical research is restricted only in few developed countries like US, EU, Japan, UK, Switzerland etc. This makes it obvious that such research for new medicines is targeted at diseases prevalent only in these five to seven technologically developed rich countries. In the last 5 decades there has been hardly any new medicine to target diseases prevalent in developing and least developing countries which include tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, Chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, leptospirosis, leprosy and Amebiasis. Moreover there are no effective drugs available for Kala Azar which manifests in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, he pointed out. 

In India there are around 350 orphan diseases for which there are no new medicines. The reality is that the focus is on diseases prevalent to high income countries. This is where pharma entrepreneurs need to scout for opportunities. The reality is that all new medicines are ‘Me Too Drugs’ like for instance omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprozole, rabeprazole, esomaprozole, fluoxetin, paroxetine, reboxetine and duloxetin, to name a few. Hence the prospects for pharma entrepreneurship are promising to drive business ventures focusing on affordability of quality medicines, said Dr Saravdekar.

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