Indian American Pulitzer Prize winner demands special status to healthcare


Special sector status is required to health infrastructure, food, agriculture, biotechnology, and medical sciences, said the Indian American Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Siddharth Mukherjee.

On Thursday, November 18, ‘Bengaluru Tech Summit-2021’ was organized to bring experts from various sectors together and discuss on how technology can enhance their industry.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman of the vision group of biotechnology, the government of Karnataka, moderated the discussion.

During the session, Dr. Mukherjee strongly suggested that technologies should be made affordable and easier to use by everyone.

“It is not a joke to build a nation. The progress of a nation is measured by discoveries and research activities,” he said.

He noted how India has been one of the top nations to take great strides in computer science and information technology, however majority of its populations are still suffering from having fundamental human needs and rights. Especially in healthcare where people are unable to afford the high cost of cancer disease treatment even as the number of patients afflicted with the disease has risen.

Dr. Mukherjee said the healthcare sector should be treated on par with the nation-building.

He highlighted how several advanced technologies in healthcare has advanced the understanding of human wellbeing, like immunotherapy and gene therapy, and gene editing among others are gaining traction in the treatment of cancer disease. These advancements have been effective in treating children suffering from cancer and others from myeloma, lymphoma, and breast cancer.

He said India should constitute a commission on the American model to elevate the healthcare sector and get the recommendations in six-eight months. The government could provide land and funds with tax breaks to expedite the process.

He said new methods have come up to treat cancer without radiotherapy and chemotherapy but they haven’t got the due recognition. He said China could achieve success, so could India.

Dr. Mukherjee said he had floated nine companies in the US and had invested a huge amount to offer affordable treatment of cancer. One of the companies Vor had developed medicine to treat thalassemia which has proven to be effective using gene-editing technology.