Center for Global Health R&D Policy Assessment

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India’s Role in Global Health R&D


Paul Wilson and Aarthi Rao

India has already done much to further access to medicines throughout the developing world by producing low-cost generic drugs and follow-on vaccines. As its economy grows and government and industry invest in innovation, many hope India can now contribute in a new way, by developing badly needed new and adapted vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for diseases of the poor. But what is India’s current capacity for new health technology development and how is this capacity likely to evolve? Do the government’s policies support innovation that is important to public health? And as Indian firms gain access to markets in the US and Europe, will they still invest in products for neglected infectious diseases? The Center’s report, “India’s Role in Global Health R&D”, sets out to answer these questions.

Drawing on published literature and interviews with industry executives, government officials, and policy experts, this landscaping study explores the role Indian innovators are already playing in R&D for neglected diseases, how this role can be expanded, and what policy and financing barriers stand in the way. The report addresses separately the vaccine, drug and diagnostic industries and takes a closer look at the development of rotavirus vaccines and tuberculosis diagnostics in India. The authors put forward initial recommendations for expanding India’s role in developing technologies for diseases of the poor.


For our final assessment, click here.
For our key messages from the report, click here.
To read the consultation draft, click here.


Read our blog article in the Huffington Post by R4D President, David di Ferranti, Senior Consultant, Paul Wilson, and Program Officer, Aarthi Rao.

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The review details independently the vaccine, medication and analytic sectors and takes a nearer look at the growth of rotavirus vaccinations and t. b diagnostics in Indian. The writers put forward initial suggestions for growing India’s part in creating technological innovation for illnesses of the inadequate.

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Appreciate the effort. I went through only the main messages. It's a good idea to have put up main messages in addition to the report. A few thoughts:

1) On this topic, we often only see newspaper cuttings and fairly superficial coverage in India media. I have read some better analysis in global media, especially on the Indian generics contributions and India looking for global vaccine markets. This report would be a good contribution to a better understanding on that.

2) What I do not read in the main messages is the policy perspective - is there an explicit direction in which GoI/policymakers would like to steer India? Are they already doing (or not doing) something in this direction? And what is the position of several non-state actors on this: a political economy of Indian health-related R&D positions. Perhaps not the scope of this report, but certainly helpful, because several actors are only now "forming" an opinion on these things in India right now.

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Dear Aarthi and Paul: This is a valuable contribution. Many thanks for putting it all together. I wish we had had this and the McLaughlin-Rotman studies 7 years ago to get in on the "ground floor." Hope you will continue to follow up with policy makers in India, and with visionary co-funders like the Wellcome Trust.

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