The recently concluded 7th national convention of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) stressed on the requirement for joint deliberations by the government and the industry on how India can become self-reliant in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), intermediaries and excipients for manufacturing formulations in the domestic pharma industry.
Currently, around 70-75 % of the active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediaries are imported from China. Some quantity of formulations also is imported from there. If a tension between the two countries develops immediately, the situation of the industry will be in crisis.
This is a reason for concern for the industry, and it seeks a permanent solution, said S V Veeramani, the immediate past president of IDMA, while sharing his perspectives at the inaugural session.
“To become self-reliant in API production, Indian pharmaceutical industry has all the possibility. We have a good number of skilled workers and their technological expertise is high. Facilities in the industry are also state-of-the-art. But the price difference is the only aspect for our over-dependence on China. If government facilitates the conducive atmosphere for the API industry, we can manufacture more than our requirement and go for export business. All formulations can be made here without depending on China for APIs”, he said.
He said the government of India is also intending to limit the over-dependence on China for every single raw material for various industry, particularly on drug-related raw materials. We are the leader in generic drug production, but we import ingredients from the neighboring country.
We must be cautious about the safety and quality of the drugs moreover. So, it is better for our industrial sector not to rely upon China for all kinds of raw materials. The government must provide all infrastructure facilities for bringing up API units in India so that we can reduce the increased import of APIs, intermediaries, and excipients from China.
As indicated by him, Chinese products are available at lower prices because the government there supports the industry especially with subsidies for everything. They need to become number one in API production. On account of Indian pharma industry, for all formulations, we rely upon China for all raw materials.
The policy makers must advise the government to support the industry with capital subsidies, power subsidies, land distribution, relaxation of pollution control standards, speed up of approvals, etc. Correspondingly, the government should approach by presenting some cluster development programs for API industries, project of common effluent treatment plants (CETP), soft loans and funding for technology up-gradation.
API production should become a priority sector, for this, the administration can plan the methodology of public-private-partnership (PPP) model in this area, said Veeramani. He pointed out that the public sector drug manufacturing units spread out in different states can be used for this reason.
Those proficient and interested parties can partner with the government for raw material production. The activity should originate from the side of the administration.
Like food security, we need security in drugs moreover. In this way, we should lessen depending on different countries for APIs.