CCI report on Pharma Sector – UPSC GS3

CCI Report on Pharma Sector:
  • Pharmaceutical Sector: Globally, India ranks 3rd in terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and 13th by value.
  • Out of Pocket Expenditure(OOPE): Pharmaceuticals including generic drugs account for about 43.2%  of out of pocket healthcare expenditure in India and about 62.7% of the total health spending in the country.
  • Generic Drugs: India is the largest supplier of generic drugs globally. However, the market for generic drugs is driven by brand competition instead of price competition despite such drugs being functionally and chemically identical.
  • Online Pharmacies: The share of online pharmacies stood at 2.8% in 2018. The sector’s reach has now expanded during the pandemic to 8.8 million households from 3.5 million households prior to the pandemic.
Suggestions:
  • Necessary regulations should be enforced to safeguard patient privacy and protect sensitive personal medical data.
  • Data and digital technology can be used effectively to improve access to and efficiency of healthcare delivery.
  • Online pharmacies should adopt self-regulatory measures in the areas of collection, use, sharing of data and privacy.
  • Effective price competition in generics can benefit consumers and improve access to affordable healthcare.
  • National Digital Drugs Databank should be created and made available to regulators, industry, physicians and consumers to address information asymmetry in the sector.
  • CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) should ensure uniform and consistent application of quality standards.
  • There should be an increase in the frequency of testing of drugs and in the capacity of drug testing labs.