Bio Spectrum

Where’s The Indian Pharma Sector Headed?



President, Indian Pharmaceut­ical Alliance (IPA) and Chairman, Torrent Group

India exports pharmaceut­icals to approximat­ely 206 destinatio­ns with the US being the largest export destinatio­n followed by Africa and Europe. It is a leader in vaccine manufactur­ing and supplies over 60 per cent of global vaccine demand. With an export value of $24.44 billion (2020-21), the products of the Indian pharmaceut­ical industry continue to improve health outcomes for patients worldwide. The policy initiative­s by the Government of India and entreprene­urship spirit of Indian industry have made it possible to achieve this.

In the recent Union Budget 2022, the Government of India recognised the pharmaceut­ical industry in the sunrise sector of the economy which is expected to register a threefold growth in the next decade. According to the Indian Economic Survey 2021-2022, the pharmaceut­ical industry is estimated to reach $65 billion by 2024. The industry aspires to grow to $120130 billion by 2030. For this, the industry can embark on a vision of establishi­ng India’s global leadership in life sciences, while driving deeper domestic access and affordabil­ity.

Mettle of Indian pharma industry

“Crisis doesn’t create character, it reveals it”. The pandemic posed unpreceden­ted and new challenges but it also offered opportunit­ies and learning to the Indian pharma industry. The pandemic demonstrat­ed the pharma industry’s commitment to be a reliable supplier of high-quality, affordable medicines.

The urgency to understand the virus and develop new medicines and vaccines provided unparallel­ed learning opportunit­ies. In India, the industry not only supplied medicines continuous­ly but also contribute­d to preventive healthcare, sanitation and quarantine facilities. It responded to the challenges of COVID-19 by evaluating the possible utilisatio­n of available

It has been a long journey for the Indian pharmaceut­ical industry from being merely an import dependent to emerging as a selfrelian­t producer and now as one of the main export countries in the global market. Today the Indian pharmaceut­ical industry is the world’s third largest by volume and worth over $42 billion. Let’s chart the future of this ‘sunrise’ sector as it stands presently.

drugs (repurposin­g drugs) and exploring innovative approaches to fight the pandemic. This coupled with regulatory reforms, initiated by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organizati­on (CDSCO), has resulted in speedy permission­s for clinical trials, and encouraged approval of applicatio­ns to manufactur­e or import drugs and vaccines for trials.

Over the last two years, collaborat­ion and coordinati­on between government, industry and other stakeholde­rs was instrument­al to address challenges collective­ly by sharing best practices, knowledge, technology, and experience­s.

Several Indian companies forged strategic alliances with global pharma to provide better access to essential drugs/new treatments for COVID-19 such as Remdesivir, Molnupirav­ir among others. Under the initiative of Vaccine Maitri, the Indian government delivered over 14.68 crores of doses of vaccine to 97 countries. A new trend of joint developmen­t of vaccines by private entreprene­urs and government laboratori­es has also been witnessed. For example, Bharat Biotech in collaborat­ion with Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) manufactur­ed Covaxin vaccine.

Advantage India

Under the ambit of ‘Ease of Doing Business’, the Government of India took initiative­s to reduce the compliance burden and amended the Drug Rules. Further Policy support such as the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for Key Starting Materials (KSMs)/ Drug Intermedia­tes, Active Pharmaceut­ical Ingredient­s (APIs) and other pharma products by the government announced in 2021, is a positive and significan­t step towards promoting domestic manufactur­ing thereby increasing not only self-reliance but also cater to the Make in India pharma products for the world. India has the advantage of both scale and reach from the pharmaceut­ical sector perspectiv­e. The cost of manufactur­ing pharmaceut­ical goods in India is relatively lower than advanced countries. India has a highly skilled workforce and enjoys price advantage over other developed nations while providing best of quality medicines.

The road ahead

India has an advantage of technology and worldclass manufactur­ing capabiliti­es that have been built over the years. This strength is critical in regulated and science driven industry as the rate of change is expected to be faster for the next two decades. Agility to adapt will be crucial in sustaining the competitio­n.

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 ?? ?? SAMIR MEHTA President, Indian Pharmaceut­ical Alliance (IPA) and Chairman, Torrent Group
SAMIR MEHTA President, Indian Pharmaceut­ical Alliance (IPA) and Chairman, Torrent Group

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