Modi govt steps up efforts to make pharma sector self-reliant; releases guidelines for new schemes

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Published: July 27, 2020 2:19 PM

Sadananda Gowda said that new schemes will significantly reduce time and investment costs for setting up new manufacturing units as the new units will be eligible for the PLI scheme.

PLI scheme, pharma sector, self reliant pharma sector, PLI schemeIndia is significantly dependent on imports of basic raw materials, APIs, or bulk drugs. 

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Sadananda Gowda today released the guidelines of schemes for the development of bulk drugs and medical device parks across the country. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat mission, Sadananda Gowda introduced four schemes to make India self-reliant in the production of 53 critical Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) or Key Starting Materials (KSMs), and medical devices, for which India is dependent upon imports now. He added that the schemes have been conceptualised for making India self-reliant in the pharma sector. The minister noted that India is significantly dependent on imports of basic raw materials, APIs, or bulk drugs. 

Need for ramping up pharma production

While highlighting the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister underlined that the pharma department and the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NNPA) ensured a steady supply of medicines, and prevented any shortage even during the lockdown. However, he added that the need for ramping up the domestic capabilities in the production of APIs and medical devices cannot be ignored to eliminate any risks to health security.

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In a move to fill this gap, the government today said that the details of the new schemes have been drawn up meticulously after having in-depth consultations with stakeholders including industries and state governments and the selection of the medical device parks’ location will be based on objective criteria and in the spirit of competitive federalism. It also said that the eligible manufacturers will be selected for the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme on the basis of marks obtained in the evaluation criteria as per the guidelines. The government believes that the move will significantly reduce time and investment costs for setting up new manufacturing units as the new units will be eligible for the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme of the centre. 

Indian pharma sector’s dependence on imports

Bulk drugs imports accounted for 63 per cent of total pharma imports worth Rs 40,000 crore in FY 2019-20, out of which, some are very critical in the production of essential medicines. The ministry of chemicals and fertilizers mentioned that in the medical devices sector, mainly in high-end devices, the import dependency is much higher. India depends on imports up to an extent of 86 per cent of its domestic requirements of medical devices. India imported medical devices worth Rs 49,500 crore in the last fiscal.

Road for $5 trillion economy

Meanwhile, Sadananda Gowda said that given the right support, the pharma sector can reach $ 100 billion by 2024, which is currently valued at around $40 billion. He added that it would also help in achieving the PM Modi’s goal of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2025. 

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