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Small scale pharma cos in Madurai feel neglected by TN IDMA and TN PMA

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Monday, May 30, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Stating that the Tamil Nadu branch of the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (TN IDMA) and the State Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (TN PMA) are not taking care of the problems of the few number of small scale formulation units operational in Madurai, a manufacturer belongs to both the associations has alleged that the industry bodies are focusing on the growth of the industries in Chennai only.

“The pharma industry profile in Madurai has been dwindling for years. The industry associations like TN IDMA and TN PMA are not giving any attention to the units in Madurai where less than ten companies are operational at present. The associations focus on the industries concentrated in Chennai and nearby places. Several of the units have closed down due to lack of support. Even today either the associations or the government agencies do not give attention to our problems. We are also members of these associations,” said A Gunasekhar, managing director of a pharma formulation unit in Madurai.

Narrating the industry woes to Pharmabiz, Gunasekhar said compared to Chennai and the northern part of Tamil Nadu, Madurai which is generally known as the ‘jasmine city’, and the nearby places like Dindukkal, Theni, Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai are climatically suitable and convenient for bringing up pharmaceutical industry. He said Madurai was to have become the hub of pharma 30 years ago, but everyone turned to the north for developing pharma sector.

Responding to his allegations, M D Varadarajan, president of TN PMA said the association cannot work for a single place or single unit, it works for the whole units in the entire state. He said there are so many reasons for the closure or indefinite suspension of operations of the companies. He said manufacturers like Gunasekhar have to understand the policy changes being brought out by the governments periodically. According to him, before the implementation of GMP compliance (Schedule M) there were more than 2,000 small scale pharma manufacturers in Tamil Nadu and all of them were members of the PMA and majority of them were from Madurai. Unable to bear the huge investment in cGMP, several units stopped their operations. Besides, a lot of units shifted their manufacturing facilities to north India to avail tax exemptions.

Dismissing the allegations of Gunasekhar, who is the leader of industry association in Madurai and various pharmacists bodies in the south, Varadarajan said no new entrepreneur wants to invest in the pharma sector now because of so many intricacies in the licensing system. Government is not giving fresh licences to new molecules and it puts the existing industries into trouble. Even the big players are struggling due to many reasons, then how can the small scale units be able to overcome all the difficulties, he asked.

It is learnt that TN PMA will call a meeting of its members to discuss their problems in the post-Covid scenario. The number of member-units of the association is 250.

However, while talking to Pharmabiz, to a query Gunasekhar said either he or the other existing units in Madurai will not take the initiative to invite investors to the southern districts because they have already established there. “We do not want to risk our business further by inviting new entrepreneurs or investors to Madurai. We want to move on smoothly,” he told Pharmabiz.


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