Only after the coronavirus pandemic kicked in, the Indian pharma industry realised its over-dependence on Chinese raw materials. However, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat mission, the country is gradually stepping up towards becoming self-reliant in the drug business. “India is the world’s largest provider of generic drugs and caters to over 50 per cent of worldwide demand for many vaccines,” Arvind Sharma, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, told Samrat Sharma of Financial Express Online in an interview. However, in order to establish India as a global leader in pharma, efforts should be made to create a supportive regulatory set-up with a simplified pricing/drug approval process and expedited investment approvals, he added.
Here are excerpts of the interview:
1) What is the impact of coronavirus on India’s pharma industry?
The pharma sector had a forced realisation about the negative effect of excess dependence on China for raw materials. This led to reforms, including under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme, and new schemes for the “Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks” and “Production Linked Incentive” have been introduced to promote domestic capabilities.
2) Where do India’s pharmaceutical standards stand globally?
India is the world’s largest provider of generic drugs and caters to over 50 per cent of worldwide demand for many vaccines. India has proved to be a reliable source for pharma products, and this is a testimony to the fact that the Indian pharma industry adheres to the strict global standards and practices.
3) What will be the effect of Donald Trump’s new order on India’s pharma?
Trump’s new order will change the way the US procures its essential drug supplies, and Indian companies will face the brunt on account of reduction in export earnings. This will also have an impact in terms of the product range catered by private US companies and related sourcing from India.
4) What is the road ahead for India’s pharmaceutical industry?
The immediate focus of India’s pharma sector is to boost domestic capacities and capitalize on any opportunities which come in its way in case global players shift their base from China to India. Also, India’s pharma companies will play a huge role in enabling the world to come out of the Covid pandemic.
5) What would you recommend to boost India’s drug industry?
The Government’s policy on pharma needs a revamp especially in light of the Covid crisis. In order to establish India as a global leader in pharma, efforts should be made to create a supportive regulatory set-up with a simplified pricing/drug approval process and expedited investment approvals.