Ahmedabad: Drug industry body IDMA today said the government should take necessary steps to give a boost to the domestic sector in order to reduce imports of API bulk drugs from China.
"Though we are good in making formulations, our industry is still dependent on China for supply of bulk drugs. Every year we import API bulk drugs worth Rs 5,000 crore from China.
"We have to reduce this dependence on China. What happens if they stop export to us? We will be in big trouble then," Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association (IDMA) president S V Veeramani said.
The Centre is yet to deliver on the promises it had made to the pharma industry for promoting bulk drug sector, also called as API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient), he told reporters at PHARMAC India 2015 exhibition here.
He further said, "China surged ahead of India in bulk drug manufacturing because the Chinese government gave its support to the industry, like giving subsidies. We have also asked our government to extend similar support to this industry here, and the government also agreed".
According to Veeramani, the Central government has declared 2015 as the 'Year of API' to make India self-sufficient in bulk drugs and project it as a major manufacturer of bulk drug.
However, the industry is still waiting for the promises to be fulfilled, as year-end is already approaching, he said.
"As you know that 2015 has been declared as the year of API. But, things have not moved at the pace at which it should be. We have demanded various incentives from this government, such as more funding, subsidies, quicker environmental clearances, etc," Veeramani said.
"Now we have learnt that the file is with PMO Secretariat. We are looking forward for some good announcement. But as of now, nothing substantial has come from their side. I hope government does something before the 'Year of API' ends," he said.
The list of demands by IDMA include subsidy on purchase of
land for plant, subsidy on power and quick environmental clearance.
"Land acquisition is a huge problem now-a-days. Cost of land is also very high, and sometimes it is more than the cost of setting up plant. We have proposed to government to give us land on lease for longer tenures, say 99 years or so. We also demanded soft loans and subsidy on loan interest," Veeramani said.
Overall pharma industry in India is in good shape and growing at a steady rate. The market size of domestic pharma industry is around Rs 90,000 crore while of annual exports is around Rs 1,00,000 crore, the IDMA president claimed.
"Our domestic market is growing at 11 to 12 per cent per year, while exports are growing at around five per cent. There are around 10,000 odd pharma companies in India. Most of them are of small and medium size.
"We have also asked the government to give upgradation funds to such firms to boost this industry further," Veeramani added.