Innovation from pharma industry in India and globally spurs better health outcomes: Gagan Singh Bedi

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Innovations from the pharma industry in India and globally are driving better health outcomes. The future treatment for many of today’s diseases is emerging or to be discovered, according to Gagan Singh Bedi, managing director, AstraZeneca Pharma India.

The best way we can help patients is to focus on the development of novel and targeted therapies. Scientific advancements fuelled by synergistic academic-industry collaborations to bring these benefits to patients will continue to spur the growth of the pharma sector, he added.

In its 40th year, AstraZeneca Pharma India is now looking to further strengthen its footprint and to transform patient lives in crucial disease areas such as diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, asthma and COPD, Bedi told Pharmabiz in an email.

The company as part of its four decades of existence in India announced its commitment to invest US$ 90 million over the next 5 years. The objective is to strengthen its business commitment in manufacturing, clinical operations, patient safety & regulatory science, IT services and commercial operations. The investments will support scientific data generation, quality manufacturing, science talent development and collaborative development of innovative solutions to improve the standard of care of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India, he said.

“Our 40th business anniversary is a key milestone and we are looking forward to celebrating our journey of bringing science to patients. This month, has a nationwide community service programme in partnership with Plan India, a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in addressing adolescent health issues. As part of this programme, we aim to create awareness on NCD prevention among young people from marginalised communities across multiple cities. Over 3, 000 young people would benefit from this programme”, said the AZ India chief.

India is experiencing a rapid health transition with a rising NCD burden which is emerging as the leading cause of fatality. The share of NCDs in morbidity and mortality will continue to increase, thereby presenting the need for its early prevention, detection, control and management. Statistics indicate adolescents aged 10-19 years constitute about 21 per cent of India’s population, necessitating programmes that focus on the health and well-being of this large, yet vulnerable population. Further, evidence suggests that over 33 per cent of the disease burden and almost 60 per cent of premature fatalities among adults can be associated with behaviours that began during adolescence, he said.

The AstraZeneca’s National Community Service programme to celebrate its 40 years aims to prevent NCDs by addressing risk behaviours like lack of physical exercise, tobacco use, alcohol abuse and unhealthy eating habits among adolescents. “We would be reaching out to young people in government schools and communities to create awareness and sensitise them on these risks though street plays, skits, counselling sessions, sports events, drawing and quiz competitions using information and educational materials,” Bedi stated.

AstraZeneca has global community initiative: The Young Health Programme, now in its 8th year of successful implementation for marginalised communities in Delhi has benefitted over 2,50,000 adolescents. It has also reached out to 1,40,000 parents, teachers, health workers and policy makers. Over 3,600 peer educators have been trained so far as part of the programme.

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