India has the potential to rank higher in areas like disease prevention and medical device manufacturing if barriers in research and innovation are removed, an official of a US-India business body has said. "India has proven to be a leader in global life sciences space," president of US-India Business Council (USIBC), Mukesh Aghi, said. "If the barriers to research and development and innovation are removed, India has the potential to rank even higher in areas of IPR, disease prevention, and drug and medical device manufacturing," he said. In partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs and Invest India, USIBC brought together policymakers, global experts, industry leaders among others during the second annual conference on 'Innovation Driven Expansion of Healthcare Access in India' held recently. It was aimed at providing a substantive framework for a candid and constructive interaction between policymakers, global experts and industry leaders. Experts, including Frank Lichtenberg from Columbia University and Ramanan Laxminarayan from Princeton University, presented their findings at the conference. "Access begins with the awareness of need, ability to obtain medical advice, a prescription and finally medicines required for treatment. "Therefore, innovation to enhance access is not just about innovative products or pricing but also innovative ways to strengthen each step of this access chain," S Sridhar, Country Manager of Pfizer India, said. Other participants, including Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog and Union health secretary C K Mishra, spoke about the importance of India's potential and status as a major healthcare power, a statement by USIBC said. The conference examined various facets of India's healthcare system including areas ranging from intellectual property to using public-private partnership to reduce cost and expand access, challenges with immunisation and promoting innovation in healthcare.
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