The Indian biopharmaceutical industry is a century old, and it is unique in its history and evolution from the pre-colonial to the post-colonial period to the current era of free trade and globalization. Modern medical research and production in India began with vaccines & antisera and flourished after the introduction of antibiotics in the 1930s and during the Second World War. During the 1960s and 1970s pharmaceutical production was encouraged by the government’s mixed economic policy, import substitution policy, and process patent regimes. Today, the Indian drug industry is a leader among the third World and one of the largest producers of affordable drugs for the world market. However, structural adjustment policies and new intellectual property laws driven by globalization in the 1990s wrought profound changes upon the Indian healthcare system. These forces have affected its R&D capability, production, growth and the survival of the industry with its consequences to public health. This article presents the historical development of the Indian biopharmaceutical industry from the public health perspective.
About the Authors:
Yennapu Madhavi, Ph.D.
Scientist, National Institute of Science Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS),
New Delhi India.
Yennapu Madhavi is a scientist at National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), India, with Ph. D. in life sciences from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research interests include the sociological and technological aspects of biomedical sciences in general, and health related issues in particular, as well as their implications for public policy in the Indian context. At present she is working on the inter-relationships and the mutual influences between academia, industry and government in the area of vaccines, with special reference to the stated goal of achieving self reliance in vaccine technology and self-sufficiency in vaccine production and its implications for public health policy.