Accord special status to healthcare, food, biotech, medicine, says Pulitzer Prize winner

  • | Thursday | 18th November, 2021

Bengaluru, Nov 18 (PTI): Pulitzer Prize winner (2011) Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee on Thursday stressed on according special sector status to health infrastructure, food, agriculture biotechnology, and medical sciences. "The healthcare sector should be treated on par with nation-building. India should constitute a commission on the American model to elevate the healthcare sector and get the recommendations in six to eight months. The government could provide land and funds with tax breaks and cuts to expedite the process," the author of "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" said while addressing the plenary session at the ‘Bengaluru Tech Summit-2021’. The renowned Indian-American physician pointed out that India has made rapid strides in computer science and information technology but it is unfortunate that people are unable to afford the high cost of cancer disease treatment even as the number of patients afflicted with the disease has risen. "It is not possible for all Indian families to visit England, the US or Germany to undergo treatment for cancer and so it is necessary for investors to change their attitude," the oncologist explained. Underlining that technologies should be made affordable and easier to use, Mukherjee said, “It is not a joke to build a nation. The progress of a nation is measured by discoveries and research activities." Mukherjee pointed out that immunotherapy, gene therapy, and gene editing among others are gaining traction in the treatment of cancer and are effective in treating children suffering from cancer and others suffering from myeloma, lymphoma, and breast cancer. He said new methods have come up to treat cancer without radiotherapy and chemotherapy but they have not got due recognition. Dr. Mukherjee said he had floated nine companies in the US and invested a huge amount to offer affordable treatment for cancer. One of the companies - Vor - had developed medicine to treat thalassemia which has proven effective by using gene-editing technology. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman of the Vision group on biotechnology, the government of Karnataka, moderated the discussion. PTI GMS NVG NVG

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