The Central government's 'Ayushman Bharat' health insurance scheme, or 'Namocare' as it is popularly known, would make India the largest drug maker in the world, said Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar on Thursday.Inaugurating the third edition of the 'India Pharma 2018 and India Medical Device 2018, International conference and exhibition' here, Ananth Kumar said a new pharmaceuticals policy in the offing would ensure effective implementation of 'Namocare', which has the potential to turn India into the largest pharma manufacturer of the world in the next three years."The new policy will pave way for major reforms in the drug price control order and double the market size of the $65 billion Indian pharma and $12 billion medical devices industry over the next five years," he said.As the world's largest state-funded programme, the National Health Protection Scheme will provide Rs 5 lakh medical insurance cover to 10 crore families covering about 50 crore people across the country. Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated in the Union Budget 2018-19 for it.Calling upon the healthcare industry to support the government in implementing the ambitious scheme, which would have a framework for universal health coverage to provide affordable and quality healthcare for the poor, he said as Namocare will roll out over the next three months, the pharma sector and the medical devices industry should expand their capacity to make affordable drugs and devices of global standards to meet the scheme's needs.
Admitting that the mega scheme cannot be implemented in the prevailing fragmented ecosystem of the pharma industry, the Minister said the new pharma policy would unify and synergise healthcare sector's components, including the drug price control order, manufacturing, research and development, financing, quality control, and so on."The pharma and medical devices industry has to take up the Namocare challenge in coordination with the 'Make in India' initiative to ensure health security for all," he said, adding he had given the stakeholders a 3A formula - 'availability, authenticity and affordability without compromising on quality'.The minister also discussed with the executives of the pharma and medical devices industry the problems and challenges faced by the sector and exhorted them to find solutions for providing affordable and quality healthcare for all across the country.Organised by the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), the three-day mega event with "Affordable and Quality Healthcare for All in the country' as the theme is being held at the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre.About 500 delegates from across the country and overseas are participating in the event, while 300 firms and 50 start-ups are showcasing their products and technologies there.