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Coronavirus: Pharma to get Rs 10,000 crore boost; 3 'Bulk Drug Parks' to be built

PB Jayakumar     March 22, 2020

The government has initiated measures to ensure adequate domestic production of raw materials going into pharmaceutical drug manufacturing amid coronavirus outbreak. The decision will help Indian manufacturers reduce their over-dependence on China for key raw materials. Almost three-fourth of raw materials used by pharmaceutical manufacturers in India are currently imported from China.

The government has announced it will promote common infrastructure facilities in three 'Bulk Drug Parks' with the financial investment of Rs 3,000 crore in the next five years. Further, it will create a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSMs), drug intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in the country with financial implications of Rs 6,940 crore for the next eight years.

India contributes 20% to the global generics market. Every third tablet sold in the US is from India.

Welcoming the move, the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), a group of 24 domestic companies that account for over 80 per cent of pharmaceutical drug production in India, said this was a major step in the creation of a self-sufficient healthcare ecosystem in the country. "We believe the government's policy announcement today will give the sector a huge boost," Satish Reddy, IPA President and Chairman, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, said.

"India has the capability and competence to manufacture all APIs. The announcement by the Government will help revive the API industry in the country and will help the sector regain the dominance that was lost over the years. The investment in creating bulk drug parks is an important step in the right direction for the development of the industry," Reddy added.

"China has gained importance in fermentation-based APIs namely, antibiotics and vitamins. The government policy to encourage fermentation-based industry will help build self-reliance", said Pankaj Patel, Chairman, Zydus Cadila.

Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharma said, "The new policy is a bold announcement by the government and will give the necessary fillip to the API industry in India. I would like to congratulate the government as this will safeguard healthcare security and create ecosystem for strong Indian API industry."

Other incentives for the healthcare sector include a Rs 3,400 crore revamp of primary health centres and Rs 400 crore for development of medical equipment parks in states.

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