Advisory Group Meeting Business Responsibility Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Sector in India

CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (CUTS CCIER) with support from the Indian Institute for Corporate Affairs (IICA) and Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit(GIZ) Business Responsibility Initiative is developing sector specific guidelines based on the National Voluntary Guidelines (NVGs) on Social, Environmental & Economic Responsibilities of Business for the pharmaceutical sector.

The NVGs was released by Ministry of Corporate Affairs, GoI in 2011 which lays down the basic requirements for businesses to function responsibly, thereby ensuring a wholesome and inclusive process of economic growth. Though, the NVGs are designed for use by all businesses and sectors and therefore touch on the fundamental aspects – the ‘spirit’– of an enterprise, the issues vary from sector to sector and thus, the application of NVG would also be different. The pharmaceutical sector is of significant importance, especially since the public interest element associated with various aspects of the business conduct is very high and has direct impact on consumer well-being.

The overarching objective of drafting the pharma sector guidelines is to mainstream the NVGs into the pharma sector in order to help businesses understand, adopt and implement them so as to enable the pharma industry to grow more competent and resilient by maximising benefits, and minimizing risks, and contributing to the national development goals. These are expected to help firms identify core areas that need improvement from a responsible business behaviour perspective.

The process will be stakeholder led and the guidelines would be developed with guidance of pharmaceutical business associations, government bodies and expert advisors. The first meeting of the advisory group is scheduled to be held on Thursday, 30th October, 2014 in New Delhi. The main objective of this meeting would be to share the outcomes of the preliminary analysis done to identify the critical Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) aspects for the sector. On the basis of the deliberations at the meeting and finalisation of the key areas, the research team will prepare the zero draft of the guidelines focussed on critical areas in the pharmaceutical sector.