Parl panel pulls up ICMR for ‘poor’ research output

RSTV Bureau

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) needs to augment its research “substantially” to cater to various health challenges in the country, a Parliamentary panel has said.

File photo of Union Health Minister JP Nadda in Lok Sabha.

File photo of Union Health Minister JP Nadda in Lok Sabha.

Noting that the research output of the state-run body was “not up to the mark”, the panel said merely 1,685 research papers and 43 patents were filed in two years time by the organisation.

“The committee observes that in two years (2015 and 2016), only 1,685 research papers (965 in 2015 and 720 in 2016) have been published by ICMR scientists and three patents have been granted against 45 patents filed.

“This clearly indicates that its health research output is not up to the mark and does not commensurate with the magnitude and disease burden in India,” the committee on Demands for Grants 2017-18 of Department of Health Research said.

The committee was chaired by senior Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav. The health research in the country is primarily carried out by 31 institutes of ICMR at present. ICMR was established in 1991 and is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world, the committee noted.

Given the fact that the country contributes to a fifth of the world’s share of diseases, it is pertinent that a relevant research base is developed that would equip policy makers to take informed health policy decisions, it said.

“The committee recommends that the ICMR evolve mechanisms to boost quality health research output by way of building alliances and partnerships and create a vibrant ecosystem for the purpose.

“It is of the view that evolving such frameworks would lead to granting of more patents, which in turn, would generate the much-needed funds for ICMR and health research,” the committee added