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Pharma industry in Madurai needs immediate survival measures, production and supply shrink every year

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Thursday, December 23, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The pharmaceutical manufacturing units (MSMEs) in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu have sought more support from government and industrial side for consistent growth of the sector.
According to reports from industry sources, the production and supply of pharmaceuticals from Madurai and nearby districts are shrinking every year due to various reasons.

The number of units has come down drastically in the last ten years because of no proper survival measures taken by the government or due to no growth proposal submitted by the pharma MSME association. In Madurai and nearby districts, very few manufacturing units are currently operating.
Meanwhile, the number of Ayurveda and Siddha industries has gone up and it is taking advantage of the situation. Production and supply of Ayush medicines are continuously increasing, says A Gunasekharan, director of the marketing division of one of the two major formulation companies in Madurai.
In an interview with Pharmabiz, Gunasekharan, who is also a leader of TN IDMA, said several companies closed down their units even before the Covid crisis, but the pandemic has jeopardized the whole pharma industry sector in Madurai, which needs survival strategies to continue to exist. Inviting the attention of the TN pharmaceutical manufacturers association (TN PMA), an association of 400 small, medium and micro pharma enterprises, he said the association should take up the issues of the companies with the government to prevent closure and lay-offs by the existing units.
According to him, currently five formulation companies and three API units are working in Madurai and nearby districts. These companies are located in Madurai, Dindukkal, Theni, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai and Thoothukudi. Their products are marketed all over the state, but mostly in the southern districts and in Kerala.
Objecting the view of the industrialist, a senior officer from the drugs control department in south zone said the department has given three new manufacturing licences to three new companies, one in Theni, Sunshine Solutions and two in Madurai for Abhilash Pharmaceuticals, in 2021 and the industry is progressing in southern districts. But he admitted that the Ayush industry in the state recorded a steady growth during the Covid pandemic period when the allopathic manufacturers had struggled with challenges due to low production, raw material cost rise and logistics problems. 
The officer further said many companies in the past had closed down their units because of non-compliance to GMP standards.
Talking about his future plan, Gunasekharan said he will raise the issues of the pharma MSMEs of Madurai in the seminar-cum-meeting called by Pharmexcil on December 23 in Chennai.  The reason he cited for the downward growth of the industry is mainly poor investment capacity of the entrepreneurs. But he sees a big scope for the pharma industry provided adequate support is given to the sector. “Since Madurai is a holy-city, the health tourism industry can develop so much. But currently people from Madurai are going to Rajapalayam for Ayurveda and Siddha treatments”, he added.
Pharmabiz tried to contact the president of the TN PMA, S Varadarajan, for comments, but failed.  


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