INDIA and the Philippines stand to mutually gain from collaborating in healthcare and health technology (healthtech), the Indian ambassador to the Philippines said.

Shambhu S. Kumaran, Indian ambassador to the Philippines, said during the India-Philippines Business Conference on Healthcare and Medical Cooperation on Wednesday that Philippine firms should view their Indian counterparts as potential partners in healthcare investments.

“Why should the Philippines look at India? As two democracies, we recognize that our people need accessible healthcare. They need affordable healthcare and they need healthcare to be available. This is only possible if we look at (the) value of partnerships looking beyond the immediate value from the transaction,” Mr. Kumaran said.

“There (are) enormous untapped requirements and capabilities on both sides,” he added.

Mr. Kumaran added that India can offer advances in healthtech.

“India is a growing technological hub. (It) is manifesting in healthtech, educational technology (edutech)..,” Mr. Kumaran said.

“I urge all our Filipino friends. I don’t want you to look away from where you’ve been looking in the past. But I want you also to look, at least also look, at India as a strong front,” Mr. Kumaran said.

Lakshminarayana Neti, chief operating officer of biotech company Biological E. Ltd., said the Philippines stands to benefit from improving its regulatory regime to ease the entry of Indian drug companies.

Mr. Neti said the Philippines can accelerate the approval process to help Indian pharmaceutical firms expand in the country, noting the current long approval process.

He added that the Philippines can enter into collaborations with Indian regulators to accelerate the approvals, by gaining a prior understanding of the drugs they will evaluate for Philippine use.

“If there are accelerated pathways that we can find, then that would help us. If the countries can respect each other’s regulators and then if they can accelerate the pathways for approvals, that would help us to serve the market of the Philippines,” Mr. Neti said.

MV Ramana, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. chief executive officer for India & Branded Markets, said the drug industries of Russia and China are opting to localize production of pharmaceuticals in order to achieve self-sufficiency, suggesting that India can help the Philippines do the same.  

“Indian companies have done a significant number of such projects and many of them are complex in nature. If this is something that is in line with the expectations of the Philippine government, (we) have 100 or 200 molecules that we would want to localize in the Philippines that would bring in self-sufficiency in critical medications,” Mr. Ramana said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave