India Can Leap Over the World

Witty says the country has the opportunity to innovate & create a truly modern healthcare system

New Delhi: India has a great op­portunity to innovate and create new healthcare systems that are also affordable, Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline said at the Economic Times Global Business Summit.

"Year 2016 is a leap year and India can leap over the rest of the world ", Witty said. "It has a great opportu­nity to create a truly modern healthcare system."

The GSK chief said that globally the healthcare industry has achieved a lot in extending life ex­pectancy but it has not succeeded in improving the quality of life.

"Vaccination has been the single biggest driver of life expectancy in the past century" He said you can be a saint and live like one but at some point of time something will happen and you will have to interact with the healthcare system.

Witty said innovation is miniatur­ising healthcare systems and pro­cedures. ' Afriend of mine recently had a hip replacement with local anesthesia," he said. Eventually miniaturisation will revolutionise how healthcare works.

He said we should have the ability to take healthcare to people and not have them come to "temples of healthcare". GSK is building a modern phar-ma factory near Bangalore which perhaps would be the biggest such facility globally, he said. The com­pany currently makes and sells a third of its products in India. That brings in only 1 percent of its reve­nue. India can be the home for in­novation for affordable healthcare.

"There is a cloud on the horizon and that is anti-microbial resist­ance. India's intervention is abso­lutely critical (in fighting it)". Witty asked India to think through how the rest of the world can balance innovation and access. He hinted that for that the country will have to get it's IPR re­gime right.