Maharashtra plans to lure pharma companies back

MUMBAI: The Congress-NCP government is drafting a plan to lure back entrepreneurs (particularly from the pharmaceutical sector) who had shifted units either to neighbouring states or newly carved out states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh between 1995 and 2000.
"From a preliminary survey, it appears that many units shifted from Maharashtra to these states because of the massive concessions they were offered. Since such schemes are coming to an end in most of these states, we are trying to draft a strategy to lure them back to the state," food and drug administration (FDA) commissioner Mahesh Zagde told TOI on Saturday.
Zagde explained that in 1995, 70% of the pharmaceutical production in the country was from Maharashtra, whereas, by the end of 2010, it had come down to a meager 24%. "It is a very disturbing situation and we will have to work out a strategy to ensure that the state retains its former position in the sector," Zagde said.
He has proposed to introduce a one-window system for new entrepreneurs. "Our goal is to ensure that they do not face administrative trouble. The entrepreneurs would have to approach a single competent authority and their proposal will be cleared on the spot. There will be absolutely no red-tapism," Zagde added.
Currently, of the total Rs 1,20,000 crore-worth of medicines produced in the country, medicines worth Rs 35,000 crore are manufactured in Maharashtra, Zagde said. Of these, medicines worth Rs 19,200 are sold in the domestic sector, while medicines worth Rs 16,000 crore are exported. "It will be a big achievement if we are able to restore production levels to the pre-1995 situation. This will also give the state economy a boost and generate additional employment," he said.
Zagde, an IAS officer of the 1993 batch, said he has also the biggest challenge before him was the annual inspection of the 75,000-odd medical shops across the state with only 60 inspectors.
"We have only 60 inspectors, as a result, against the mandatory inspection of each and every medical store, we are able to inspect less than 15000 shops," he said.
He has proposed a self-assessment scheme for the 75,000 medical shop owners in the state, on the lines of returns filed in some government departments. "It will be on the pattern of returns filed in a section of government departments. We have prescribed a format for the purpose and every shop owners will have to submit it to the FDA office before the stipulated date," he said.
On the recall of spurious or substandard medicines, Zagde said, "At the moment, we put up a list of such medicines on our website. We are trying to develop a software using which we can instantly message or mail all shopkeepers, hospitals and other agencies in the state about such medicines," he added.

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