The Union Cabinet recently approved the Promotion of Research & Innovation in Pharma-MedTech sector (PRIP) scheme with an outlay of ₹5,000 crore for five years.
About PRIP Scheme:
- The objective of the PRIP scheme is to transform the Indian Pharma MedTech sector from cost-based competitiveness to innovation-based growth by strengthening the research infrastructure in the country.
- The aim of the scheme is to promote industry-academia linkage for R&D in priority areas and to inculcate the culture of quality research and nurture our pool of scientists.
- Rs 5,000 crore will be spent in five years (2024-28) under the PRIP scheme, and companies will be given incentives for research.
- The six focus areas of the scheme are
- new chemical entities, including biological and phytopharmaceuticals;
- complex generics and biosimilars;
- precision medicines such as gene therapy and stem cells;
- medical devices using artificial intelligence and machine learning;
- orphan drugs;
- anti-microbial resistance;
- It focuses on two components:
- Strengthening research infrastructure through Centres of Excellence (CoE) in the seven existing National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs), Institutes of national importance at a tentative cost of Rs. 700 crore over a period of five years.
- Government engagement with nine established pharmaceutical companies with an outlay of Rs. 125 crores over five years, an aid of Rs. 100 crores to 30 research projects on high-potential products and funding to 125 research projects among startups.
- An Empowered Committee under the chairmanship of CEO, NITI Aayog, with the secretary-level representation of Pharmaceuticals, Health, ICMR, DBT, CSIR, AYUSH and DST, will provide guidance for the implementation of this ambitious scheme by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
Q1) What are biosimilars?
Biosimilars are biological products that are highly similar to, but not identical copies of, already approved and licensed biologic medications. Biologic drugs, also known as biopharmaceuticals, are medicines that are produced using living organisms, such as cells or microorganisms, and they are used to treat a variety of diseases and medical conditions, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, and chronic diseases.