Expect govt to ramp up public healthcare spending, says Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

MUMBAI: Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw wants Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ramp up public spending in the healthcare sector to push growth and address the challenges faced by the industry in India. She said that the Budget should also look at creating an environment that will attract investments in research and development.

“I would like to see the forthcoming budget by FM Arun Jaitley, addressing the burgeoning healthcare challenges of India by ramping up the public healthcare spending from the current abysmal 1% level to a more credible 2% of GDP,” Mazumdar Shaw told dna.

“I sincerely hope that he (Jaitley) provides the necessary impetus to research in pharma and life sciences by continuing the 200% weighted deduction for expenditure incurred on R&D. The Budget needs to create an enabling environment that attracts investments in R&D-led start-ups, to prepare the path for value accretive and non-linear growth, she said.
She also warned about the drawbacks of doing away with tax breaks for R&D. She said, “the removal of some of the tax breaks and incentives given to SEZs and pharma R&D, will blunt India’s ‘innovation edge’ and will put the nation at a competitive disadvantage to its other global peers.”
Echoing her views, Ranjana Smetacek, Director General, Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India, also said that her biggest expectation from the government is an increase in expenditure on public health and tax incentives for R&D in the country.
The Organisation wants the government to up the healthcare budget from the current 1% to at least 2.5% over the next two years.
“We would also like to see Budget 2016 provide tax incentives for R&D activities in the country, either by way of a tax holiday or by extending the sunset clause on weighted deductions. This will go a long way in transforming India into an innovation hub for pharmaceuticals,” she said.
“For India to be the ‘pharmacy to the world’, responsible healthcare should be the norm and patients must be guaranteed safe care and quality medicine.” For this, implementing the promised Universal Health Assurance programme will benefit patients and increase access, she said.