India recognized as ‘world’s pharmacy’ amid Covid, says Goyal; urges firms to explore these markets

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Published: May 31, 2020 6:47 PM

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said that India has been recognized as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’ as more than 120 countries got some essential medicines during the last two months.

“It is time to take India towards normalcy,” the minister said.Goyal called for collaboration between private enterprises, Indian Council of Medical Research, universities and academicians for research and development efforts.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, lauding the pharma industry for ensuring an adequate supply of all medicines amid ongoing Covid crisis, urged businesses to explore untapped markets in eastern Europe and Russia. Interacting with the office bearers of the pharma associations, business owners, and other stakeholders through a video conference on Sunday, Goyal also called for collaboration between private enterprises, Indian Council of Medical Research, universities and academicians for research and development efforts.

The minister said that India has been recognized as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’ as more than 120 countries got some essential medicines during the last two months, including 40 countries getting medicines in the form of a grant, free of cost.

Importantly, India’s pharma exports, impacted by Covid-19, took a hit of around $1.5 billion because of export restrictions on some drugs and supply disruptions. The sector reported growth of 7.57 per cent to $20.58 billion for FY20 in comparison to the estimated target of $22 billion, according to the data from Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) data.

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Pharmaceuticals is among the 10 sectors in government’s focus to attract companies looking to move out of China. The government is developing a land parcel of 461,589 hectares — close to double the size of Luxembourg for such companies, Bloomberg reported earlier this month citing people with knowledge of the matter. This includes 115,131 hectares of existing industrial land in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, they said.

Goyal also reiterated the steps taken by the government to boost the sector, for instance, approving the scheme on Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks for financing common infrastructure facilities in three bulk drug parks. Moreover, Production-Linked Incentive Scheme to boost domestic manufacturing of critical KSMs/drug intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in the country has been given a go-ahead, he added.

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