Record surge for Indian pharma exports boosts self-reliant India campaign

Record surge for Indian pharma exports boosts self-reliant India campaign
Medicines being sorted. India is currently the largest provider of generic drugs globally, with Indian pharma companies catering to more than half of the global demand for various vaccines.Courtesy: ANI

Government's focus on measures to bolster support for domestic pharma sector during pandemic pays rich dividends.

Even before the coronavirus became a household commonplace across the world, the Indian government initiated focused programmes and measures to support the growth of the domestic pharma sector last year.

Whether it’s the rapid approval of committed investments worth $67 million for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for pharma companies in India, or the approved a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the sector, that support has been one of the pillars of the Indian government’s vision for a self-reliant India amid the pandemic outbreak.

Indian Naval Ship Kesari departing for Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Comoros, to provide COVID19 related drugs, including HCQ tablets and special ayurvedic medicines.
Indian Naval Ship Kesari departing for Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Comoros, to provide COVID19 related drugs, including HCQ tablets and special ayurvedic medicines.Courtesy: ANI

Leap in exports

Those efforts are already bearing fruit – with exports from India witnessing more than 18 per cent growth to $24.44 billion during the last financial year against $20.58 billion in FY20, as per the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil).

The pharma exports agency is expecting a major growth in Indian vaccine exports in the coming months and the government policy on production-linked incentives (PLI) schemes will also help domestic pharma to grow by reducing import dependence and developing export potential.

“We have observed a big leap in our exports in the month of March 2021 which is $2.3 billion and is highest among the exports of all the months of this financial year, the growth rate for this month is 48.5 per cent against the exports in March 2020 ($1.54 billion),” said Udaya Bhaskar, Director General of Pharmexcil.

Those numbers not only place India as the fulfilment centre of the world’s pharma and healthcare needs, but also help bolster demand in the World’s Pharmacy. India is currently the largest provider of generic drugs globally, with Indian pharma companies catering to more than half of the global demand for various vaccines, along with 40 percent of generic drugs demand in the US.

People buy medicines after the government declared complete lockdown last year. Even as the global pharma market was down by up to 2 per cent in 2020, there was a massive surge in demand for Indian-made generics owing to its quality and affordability.
People buy medicines after the government declared complete lockdown last year. Even as the global pharma market was down by up to 2 per cent in 2020, there was a massive surge in demand for Indian-made generics owing to its quality and affordability.Courtesy: ANI

Indian-made generics

Even as the global pharma market was down by up to 2 per cent in 2020, there was a massive surge in demand for Indian-made generics owing to its quality and affordability, Bhaskar said, adding that drug formulations and biologicals were the second largest principal commodity being exported by India.

We have observed a big leap in our exports in the month of March 2021 which is $2.3 billion and is highest among the exports of all the months of this financial year, the growth rate for this month is 48.5 per cent against the exports in March 2020 ($1.54 billion).
- Udaya Bhaskar, Director General, Pharmexcil

The pharma exports agency is expecting a major growth in Indian vaccine exports in the coming months and the government policy on production-linked incentives (PLI) schemes will also help domestic pharma to grow by reducing import dependence and developing export potential. With the world looking at India for sourcing APIs, North America is the largest exporting region for Indian pharmaceuticals with more than 34 per cent share.

Country wise exports to the US, Canada and Mexico have recorded a growth of 12.6 per cent, 30 percent and 21.4 percent respectively. South Africa being the second largest exporting country, recorded a jump of 28 per cent growth, while Europe was the third largest exporting region with approximately 11 per cent growth over the previous year.

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