The Indian medicines industry has proven its capability in the Covid Pandemic with its cost-effective and quality standards around the world. It is fulfilling the global drug demand not only in advanced countries like the US but in underdeveloped continents like Africa. India has been truly recognized as a pharmacy of the world.
Addressing the Global Pharmaceutical Quality Summit 2022, Dr VG Somani, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) said “India is the third-largest supplier of the pharmaceutical product in the world by volume and further will be a systematic and quality pharmacy of the world”.
India – From an importer to an exporter of the medicine
The US had occupied the medical research and development market of the world. Further, after passing the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act in 1984, the production of generic medicines became subject to the violation of Intellectual property rights. The act made it difficult for poor countries like India to afford the costly branded medicines.
With the growth of the indigenous pharmaceutical industry, the Patent Act of 1970 recognised the importance of medicines in saving human lives. Commercialization and profit-making cannot be more important than a life of a human being. Working on the philosophy, Indian Patent law was liberalized for processing and manufacturing of drugs. Further, after various rounds of negotiations with the World Trade Organization (WTO), compulsory licensing was recognised after the 20 years of the patent of a pharmaceutical product or process. It led to the revolution of generic medicine production in India and helped in saving lives around the world
Exporting to around 200 countries of the world, India is not only providing life-saving medicines but its expertise in generic medicines has increased the affordability and has helped the poor countries in saving lives.
The key component of a pharmaceutical product is its raw material called Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API). In its cost-effective effort to produce medicine, India did not recognise the API’s importance and slowly became dependent on China. During Covid, the dependency on China and US does not let the bargaining of India go beyond a certain limit in its exports policies. China accounts for about 20% of the world’s API production and export, which largely forms the foundation of the pharmaceutical industry.
To reduce the dependency on Chinese APIs, India has launched a special INR 9940 crore package to boost the domestic APIs industry. Through the Production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes, the government is trying to leverage the global API industry to invest in India to make the country Aatmanirbhar in pharmaceutical production.
With government support, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is not only flourishing in commercial aspects but with its generic medicine production, it has helped in saving lives in poor countries and has earned the tag of Global hub of pharmaceutical products.