India – The Pharmacy of the world

India is called the ‘world’s pharmacy’. It is rightly called so because of our capabilities to produce medicine of global standards. India has the third largest pharmaceutical industry globally, by volume. In 1969, Indian pharmaceuticals had a 5 per cent share of the market in India, and global pharma had a 95 per cent share. By 2020, it was the reverse, with Indian pharma having an almost 85 per cent share and global, 15 per cent.

This reversal has happened by excellent formulation of medicine and great entrepreneurship of people. The economic survey has elaborated that, the Indian pharmaceutical industry, valued at $41 billion, is expected to grow to $65 billion by 2024 and $120-130 billion by 2030. Drug formulations, biologicals have consistently registered positive growth and the highest increase in absolute terms in recent months. this shows potential of India of being the pharmacy of the world.

The availability of a significant raw material base and skilled workforce have enabled India to emerge as an international manufacturing hub for generic medicines. Further, India is the only country with the largest number of USFDA compliant pharma plants (more than 262 including APIs) outside of the US. The capacity of Indian pharma industry is such that in the COVID-19 pandemic India could not only innovate but also rapidly distribute time-critical drugs to every part of the globe that needs it. India is a global leader and presently, over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.

But there is an overdependence of the indian pharma industries, as we import about 80% of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients(API) from China. The API forms the base of drugs. With trade-wars at global levels and wavering bilateral relations, there is a looming threat which can stall the Indian pharma industries. Because of fewer costs associated with generic medicines, multiple applications for generic drugs are often approved to market a single product; this creates competition in the marketplace globally, typically resulting in lower prices.

There is a lack of proper assessment of the performance of the pharmaceutical industry and its efficiency and productivity and due to this many plants have not survived. Unregulated online pharmacies or e-pharmacies emerging in India have been a major concern for authorized setups.

Ultimately, improvement in industrial practices to provide better training and support services for employees to perform their job functions will strengthen pharma industry. Using multilateral organisation like WTO against the illegal trade practices cam help bring to attention malpractices by traders. Funding for the pharma companies might be a way to move forward in improving research capabilities as a way forward.

Aishwarya Says:

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