Quality is the key to Indian Pharma’s transformation

Quality awareness in pharmaceutical companies is crucial to bring about change in the industry and to correct the bad reputation of Indian pharmaceutical companies worldwide. This, combined with the government’s strong will to change things, will make a difference, says Satyanarayana Chava, Founder and CEO of Laurus Labs.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry has been rocked by allegations of poor manufacturing quality, inadequate monitoring and the supply of contaminated medicines, which has led to deaths in other countries.

Chava, whose company supplies most of its medicines in heavily regulated markets such as the US and Europe, says in an exclusive interview with Moneycontrol that the country’s image is being tarnished by reports of victims of contaminated medicines by some smaller pharmaceutical companies in India.

“In a democracy, nothing will change unless there is political will to do so. Just one company or one individual cannot change it, there should be a political will to change the face of Indian pharmaceutical industry,” he says.

Chava emphasizes equal access to quality medicines for all and says the focus for both government and drug manufacturers should be creating a quality standard for each market.

“In all of our facilities we produce medicines that can be sold anywhere in the world. It’s not like this drug is for one country and this drug is for another region like Japan, USA or Europe. We differentiate regions based on price, not quality. It’s not like we’re selling better quality medicines in the US and planning supplies to other countries with lower standards. That’s the legacy we want to preserve,” he adds.

Improving infrastructure can reduce API dependency

Chava, whose company is a leading supplier of antiretroviral APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) for hepatitis C and oncology drugs and intermediates, said the union government needs to invest in industrial parks to reduce dependency on other countries.

“If you go to China, there are thousands of hectares of industrial parks with well-developed roads and infrastructure,” he says, calling on the government to build fully integrated industrial parks.

“Companies will come when we have fully integrated industrial parks. We can become a drug production center,” he adds.

Commenting on the role of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) program, Chava says: “The PLI is a good initiative, but you have to see how many production sites for APIs have been set up since the PLI was announced; Large pharmaceutical companies build huge plants with six to seven active ingredients. Incentives will support the industry to some extent, but what is needed are large industrial parks.”

Again, he differentiates between APIs for generics and innovators.

“The value is in providing APIs for innovators, as APIs for generics are heavily price-driven,” he says.

Investing in novel therapies for the future

Chavas Laurus Labs, which has evolved from a single product company to a fully integrated API and formulation company to a biotechnology company, has now turned its attention to novel, emerging cell and gene therapies. The core idea behind investing in cell and gene therapy was to push the company into new areas of healthcare, he says.

The Company recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with IIT-Kanpur (IIT-K) to in-license certain gene therapy assets.

“We have decided to invest up to 10 percent of our profits in disruptive technologies. We invested around 100 crore. If we succeed, we create an example. This is not a generic method; “IIT Bombay (ImmunoACT) has developed a new plan for CART therapy, this is cutting-edge research,” he adds. Laurus Labs owns 100 percent of the gene therapy assets, while the company has a nearly 40 percent interest in the cell therapy contract with ImmunoACT.

Related Articles

Back to top button