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Pharma exports to Arab nations cumbersome

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Pharma exports to Arab nations cumbersome:


Context:

India has urged Arab countries to make it easier to export pharmaceutical products to the region and asked them to tap Indian farms to secure food supplies, as it seeks to diversify the $160 billion trade basket with the Arab bloc beyond hydrocarbons.

What’s the issue now?

Indian pharma products enjoy great credibility around the world, but they do not have the same kind of recognition in most of the Arab world, because the process through which medicines are brought into Arab countries are very elaborate and cumbersome at times.

Why trade with Arab World is important for India?

India-Arab trade accounts for 20% of India’s overall trade, but is still concentrated in hydrocarbons. Agriculture, technology and tourism are the potential areas for diversification.

Indian Pharma Industry:

  • India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector, as India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally.
  • The Indian pharmaceutical industry meets over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the U.S. and 25% of all medicine in the U.K.
  • Presently, over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.
  • The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the world’s third-largest in terms of volume and thirteenth-largest in terms of value. It has established itself as a global manufacturing and research hub.
  • India has one of the lowest manufacturing costs in the world – lower than that of the U.S. and almost half of the cost in Europe.

Challenges that need to be addressed:

Dependence: Indian pharmaceutical industry is highly dependent on China for pharmaceutical raw materials. These raw materials are called the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), also known as bulk drugs. Indian drug-makers import around 70% of their total bulk drug requirements from China.

Fake versions of high value and/or high volume brands of the pharmaceutical companies in India are adversely affecting their business performance posing another major challenge. It also creates a negative impact to the end consumer and a huge health hazard.

So, what India is doing?

Call for greater self-reliance: In June, the department of pharmaceuticals announced a scheme for the promotion of three bulk drug parks in the country.

  • A bulk drug park will have a designated contiguous area of land with common infrastructure facilities for the exclusive manufacture of APIs, DIs or KSMs, and also a common waste management system.
  • These parks are expected to bring down manufacturing costs of bulk drugs in the country and increase competitiveness in the domestic bulk drug industry.

Key features of the scheme for promotion of Bulk Drug parks:

  1. The scheme will support three selected parks in the country by providing a one-time grant-in-aid for the creation of common infrastructure facilities.
  2. The grant-in-aid will be 70 per cent of the cost of the common facilities but in the case of Himachal Pradesh and other hill states, it will be 90 per cent.
  3. The Centre will provide a maximum of Rs 1,000 crore per park.
  4. A state can only propose one site, which is not less than a thousand acres in area, or not less than 700 acres in the case of hill states.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the scheme mentioned above.
  2. Funding.
  3. Targets.
  4. What are active pharmaceutical ingredients?
  5. APIs in fixed- dose vs single- dose drug combinations.
  6. What are excipients in Medicine?

Sources: the Hindu.