Overview of the Topic

The Indian pharmaceuticals market stands as a global powerhouse, ranking third in volume and thirteenth in value. Dominated by generic drugs accounting for 70%, over-the-counter medicines (OTC) and patented drugs contribute 21% and 9%, respectively. In a recent TCS iON webinar, Director of Taj Pharma Group, Mr. Shantanu Singh, shed light on the industry’s nuances.

International Exports: An Insightful Conversation with Mr. Shantanu Singh

Pharma Exports: A Global Standout

Taj Pharma's Compliance with WHO-cGMP and GLP Standards
Taj Pharma’s Compliance with WHO-cGMP and GLP Standards

India boasts the title of the largest supplier of generic medicines globally, contributing 20-22% to the global export volume. During April to November 2020, pharmaceutical exports amounted to an impressive US$ 15.87 billion. Notably, Bulk Drugs & Drug intermediates recorded US$ 3.89 billion in exports for FY20.

Key Export Markets and Stats

North America claims the largest market share at 34%, with the U.S., Canada, and Mexico growing significantly. Africa emerges as a promising market, growing by 13.4%, with South Africa leading at a 28% increase. Europe, the third-largest market, contributes approximately 11%.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the pharma sector faced challenges due to lockdowns and supply chain disruptions, the growth in the previous fiscal year was an impressive 18.7%. Major opportunities include generic formulation exports, essential drug formulations, and vaccine manufacturing.

Venturing into International Markets: Insights from Mr. Shantanu Singh

Opportunities for MSMEs in Pharma Exports

Mr. Shantanu Singh outlined three crucial opportunities for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) looking to venture into the export market:

  1. Generic Formulation Export: Exporting generic equivalent formulations offers a significant opportunity, especially in countries facing budget constraints.
  2. Essential Drug Formulations: Focusing on essential drug formulations, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, is a strategic move for MSMEs.
  3. Vaccine Manufacturing: With the right technology, small to medium-scale vaccine manufacturing presents a golden opportunity.

Steps for MSMEs to Enter the Export Market

  1. Ultra-modern Manufacturing Units: MSMEs should invest in state-of-the-art manufacturing units, adhering to international standards.
  2. GMP & International Norms: Compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and international norms is non-negotiable for successful international ventures.
  3. Drug Registrations & Inspections: Ensuring proper drug registrations, plant inspections, and adherence to international GMPs are critical steps.

Current Challenges Faced by the Indian Pharma Industry

Raw Material Shortage and Dependence on China

  1. Raw Material Shortage: The pharma industry grapples with shortages of raw materials, especially for essential COVID-19 drugs.
  2. Dependence on China: India’s reliance on China for pharmaceutical raw materials poses challenges, prompting the need for strategic domestic production.

Drug Shortages and Price Controls

  1. Drug Shortages: Essential drugs like Remdesivir and Favipiravir face shortages due to transportation issues and inadequate preparedness.
  2. Price Control Challenges: The Indian government faces challenges in controlling the prices of finished pharmaceutical products and essential APIs.

Immediate Steps for Overcoming Challenges

Industry Initiatives and Government Support

  1. Boost Essential Drug Stocks: Immediate steps involve increasing stocks of essential drugs, especially those facing shortages.
  2. Diplomatic Intervention for Cargo Flights: Government intervention is crucial to resume cargo flights from China for essential raw materials.
  3. Regulation of API Prices: Temporarily regulating API prices under the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPA) can stabilize the industry.
  4. Toll Plaza Exemptions: Exempting pharmaceutical goods from toll plazas during the pandemic ensures efficient and timely delivery.
  5. Addressing Oxygen Supply: Government support is needed to tackle the reduced supply of oxygen, crucial for pharmaceutical raw material manufacturing.

Final Remarks and Key Takeaways from Mr. Shantanu Singh

EU-GMP PICs Certification Taj Pharma's Global Commitment to Quality
EU-GMP PICs Certification Taj Pharma’s Global Commitment to Quality

As Mr. Shantanu Kumar Singh emphasizes, the pharma industry faces unprecedented challenges. Collaboration between all stakeholders, including the government, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare professionals, and the public, is essential for overcoming the current crisis and preparing for potential future waves.

In conclusion, the pharma industry plays a crucial role in the current scenario, standing as the frontline warrior. As the industry navigates challenges, strategic initiatives, and government support are pivotal to ensuring a resilient and sustainable future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How has the Indian pharmaceuticals market positioned itself globally?

A1: The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third largest in volume and thirteenth in value globally, with a strong focus on generic drugs.

Q2: What are the key opportunities for MSMEs in the pharma export market?

A2: MSMEs can explore opportunities in generic formulation export, essential drug formulations, and vaccine manufacturing for international markets.

Q3: What steps should MSMEs take to venture into the export market successfully?

A3: MSMEs should invest in ultra-modern manufacturing units, adhere to GMP and international norms, and ensure proper drug registrations and inspections.

Q4: What are the immediate challenges faced by the Indian pharma industry?

A4: Challenges include raw material shortages, dependence on China, drug shortages, and price control issues for finished products and essential APIs.

Q5: How can the government support the pharma industry in overcoming current challenges?

A5: Government support can include diplomatic intervention for cargo flights, regulation of API prices, toll plaza exemptions, and addressing oxygen supply for raw material manufacturing.

In navigating the complexities of the pharmaceutical industry, collaboration, innovation, and strategic initiatives are paramount. The industry’s resilience in the face of challenges demonstrates its commitment to ensuring the availability of essential drugs. As we collectively work towards overcoming current obstacles, the pharma industry remains a stalwart warrior, dedicated to global health and well-being.