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South Indian pharma holds huge potential for growth

Ravi Shet
Wednesday, June 1, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Today, Indian industry has transformed itself into a prominent position in the global pharmaceuticals industry and statistics speaks for itself. It ranks third worldwide for production by volume, the largest provider of generic medicines globally, occupying a 20 per cent share in global supply by volume, and is the leading vaccine manufacturer globally.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is expected to reach $65 billion by 2024 and to $120 billion by 2030. India is among the top 20 global medical devices markets in the world. To add on strong network of manufacturing facilities which are compliant with respect to various regulatory bodies globally as well as availability of highly skilled resource.

The pharmaceutical manufacturing in the southern states of India has a high merger and acquisition potential. Karnataka has one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical sectors in India. With a lot of initiatives from the government, there are several R&D centres, pharma industrial zones, and exclusive pharma Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to support the developing pharma industry and incentivise international investment. Karnataka houses the largest number of US FDA and/or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved manufacturing facilities.

Andhra Pradesh, is racing ahead with world-class pharma cluster in Visakhapatnam and several big-ticket projects complying with stringent norms recommended by the US FDA and European Union (EU), is poised to make a giant leap forward in tapping enormous potential for exports of bulk drugs and formulations. Air cargo facilities and container terminal for shipment is of great help in terms of reducing the logistics cost by ensuring safe and timely delivery of their products to several destinations.

Coming to Telangana, Hyderabad contributes over 30 per cent of the pharmaceutical production of the country and accounts for 44 per cent share in total exports of the state. One of the first RT-PCR kits approved by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was developed in India from Hyderabad. Covaxin, India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine is the result of intense efforts of Bharat Biotech located at Hyderabad. Also, Telangana, contributes nearly one-third to India’s production and one-fifth to its exports in the pharmaceutical sector.

Tamil Nadu, is the first state in the country to set up a pharma park in 1978 and already home to global pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturers. It is now set to be the epicentre for medical equipment production. The medical electronics industry has also witnessed double digit growth in recent years in the state. Pfizer, the leading pharmaceutical company, inaugurated a global drug development centre on IIT Madras Research Park campus recently. This is the company’s first such facility in Asia and set up at a cost of over Rs. 150 crore, is spread over 61,000 square feet and has 10 laboratories with cutting edge equipment.

Kerala, is underrepresented in the pharma manufacturing industry due to an unfavourable business environment produced due to agitation and strikes by trade unions on frequent basis leading to driving away business from the state. Overall, if we analyse the statistics for these southern states, it looks good on an average, however, we need to scale up in terms of one stop solution for all the needs of pharmaceutical industry for our country.

The road ahead
One of the ambitious project is creation of Pharma City which is underway in Hyderabad. It has vast patch of land which can accommodate approximately 14,000 football fields. This huge space will become a testing ground to excel in terms of increasing the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients for which we have currently huge dependence on China.

Approximately 70 per cent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients are supplied from China to us which plays a role of bread and butter in the production of medicines. This move will surely boost the capability of our country in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients in the coming years and makes us more independent, rather than being dependent on any other country.

During the initial phase of Covid-19, when almost all parts of the globe had undergone lockdown, it was an uphill task to procure key active pharmaceutical ingredients for the production of medicines. It resulted in lot of missed shipments and shortages. The key thought process is to aid India pharmaceutical companies cut costs and become more competitive on price by providing them with land where environmental clearances are sorted, waste disposal facilities are already built and other world class infrastructure is ready. To achieve India’s ambitious target of increasing the market size by 2030, there needs to be a push from all stakeholders. However, it is equally important to change the perception of India in the minds of the world.

Conclusion
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been continuously promoting our country as pharmacy of the world. With all the proper incentives, innovative thought process and skilled pool of resources we can achieve great milestones in pharmaceutical industry. Interactions between Government and industry players have to increase and they need to be taken into confidence by Government while taking key policy decisions.

The economy of strategic scale is significant and we need to speak, make and act swiftly. To add, the available infrastructure coupled with incentives and pool of resources present in Southern states of India will definitely prosper in a good way to boost our economy as well as become more Atmanirbhar for the pharmaceutical sector. It has all the ingredients to be the next bright spot in the global economy as well as position themselves into leading position and excel in terms of delivering quality and innovative products to the country and globally.

(The author is clinical data management professional)

 

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