Indian government plans to offer incentives to companies making diabetes and obesity drugs in 2026, government official says, ET HealthWorld

Indian government plans to offer incentives to companies making diabetes and obesity drugs in 2026, government official says, ET HealthWorld


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By Rishika Sadam

Bengaluru: India plans to offer incentives to boost local manufacturing of GLP-1 drugs used to treat diabetes and obesity in 2026, a top government official said on Friday.

GLP-1 drugs, originally approved to treat diabetes, are also being widely used to treat obesity because they slow down digestion, making patients feel fuller for longer.

Industry experts say Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk’s patent on semaglutide is set to expire in India in 2026. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 agonist and is the key ingredient in its highly popular obesity drug Wegovy and diabetes drug Ozempic.

“Indian companies (planning to) manufacture GLP-1 drugs have applied for the government's production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme,” Arunish Chawla, secretary in the department of pharma, told Reuters.

“We will give them incentives when they start manufacturing in 2026 after the patent expires,” Chawla said, without revealing the names of these companies.

Drugmakers around the world are trying to grab a piece of the weight-loss drug market, which is projected to reach at least $100 billion by the end of this decade.

India has a high rate of obesity, especially among women, and the second-highest number of people with type 2 diabetes in the world. According to the World Obesity Federation Atlas, by 2035, about 11% of Indian adults will be obese.

Domestic drugmakers Biocon, Sun Pharma, Cipla, Dr Reddy's and Lupin are all part of the club. They were not immediately available for comment on Friday.

India has offered incentives since 2020 to boost local manufacturing of everything from electronic products to drones, but only a few cases have been successful.

Chawla said the drug manufacturers that will be considered for the upcoming incentive scheme have labelled the use of GLP-1 drugs as 'anti-diabetic' in their applications.

“Their use for obesity will depend on the necessary approval from the drug regulator at that time.”

(Reporting by Rishika Sadam; Additional reporting by Kashish Tandon; Editing by Dhanya Scariachan and Savio D'Souza)

  • Published on June 28, 2024 at 04:33 PM IST

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