July , 2021
Indian pharmaceutical sector back on track
18:26 pm

Saptarshi Deb


The pharmaceutical industry holds a key position in tackling this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic that has left a deep impact on the Indian economy. Globally, the Indian pharmaceutical sector also holds a key position. According to IBEF, Indian pharmaceutical sector supplies over 50% of global demand for various vaccines. It also states that India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally. The pandemic has provided an outlandish opportunity to the Indian pharma industry to play a decisive role in the global market and rediscover itself – at the same time.


According to Indian Economic Survey 2021, the pharmaceutical industry is currently valued at $41.7 billion. India’s domestic pharmaceutical market is estimated at $ 41 billion in 2021 and likely to reach $ 65 billion by 2024 and further expand to reach $ 120-130 billion by 2030. According to one estimate, already 2.7 million jobs have been created in the Indian pharma sector due to its growth.


In a recent virtual workshop organised by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, World Health Organisation (WHO), JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysuru (JSS AHER), AMTZ and Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), speakers highlighted the need of strengthening the capacities of IVDs-medical devices manufacturing facilities to meet current global best practices and sharing global practices to promote availability and access to quality medical products. Enhancing availability of quality pharmaceutical products for all was also an important theme of discussion in the backdrop of the pandemic.


According to Flitch Ratings, Indian pharmaceutical companies’ sales will grow robustly in the financial year ending March 2022 (FY22) as sales normalise in categories affected by the pandemic in the previous year. It also expects sales of drugs used to treat acute medical conditions and elective procedures to continue to recover in FY22. Sales in these categories fell in FY21 as travel restrictions reduced doctor visits and hospitals prioritised Covid-19 treatment over elective procedures. 


The crisis over the vaccination process may see a significant improvement because India expects to receive three to four million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 shots through the COVAX facility by August. The country has so far administered 358.1 million vaccine doses - the most in the world after China - giving at least one dose to 31% of its estimated adult population of 944 million. Before it was shaken by the second wave, India had donated or sold more than 66 million doses of Covid-19 shots. According to experts, India needs to administer 10 million doses a day to achieve its aim of immunising all adults by December.


According to a report, the source of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) is a crucial part of the pharma industry’s strategic plan to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The majority of APIs for generic drug manufacturing across the globe are sourced from India, which also supplies approximately 30% of the generic APIs used in the US. However, Indian manufacturers rely heavily on APIs from China for the production of their medicine formulations, procuring around 70% from China, the top global producer and exporter of APIs by volume. The current dependency of Indian pharmaceutical companies on Chinese APIs is a serious concern for national health security, prompting the Indian government to set up a taskforce to review the internal API sector. India can reduce its dependency on imports only if it manufactures APIs/intermediates efficiently and sustainably. For this to happen, the government’s intervention and support are crucial. As a step towards self-dependence, the Indian government initiated an `9,940 crore package in March 2020 to boost domestic production and exports of bulk drugs. Within this, the government approved the setting up of three bulk drug parks costing `3,000 crores and an `6,940-crore production-linked incentive (PLI) package.

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