Representational image | Pixabay
Medicinal drugs | Representational image | Pixabay
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New Delhi: The Modi government has drawn up a list of 38 drug raw materials that it wants locally produced in a bid to end the country’s dependence on Chinese imports for them, ThePrint learnt. 

In an hour-long meeting chaired by Amitabh Kant, CEO of think-tank NITI Aayog Wednesday, the government has asked leaders of the Indian pharmaceutical industry to boost the manufacturing of these raw materials, which are scientifically called active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

The APIs, also known as bulk drugs, are the key raw material used for manufacturing medicines. For instance, paracetamol is the API for Crocin.

“The government’s apex body, the Central Drug Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) has prepared a list of 38 essential APIs where India needs to be self-dependent. The government has informed us about the list but has not circulated it yet,” said V.V. Krishna Reddy, national president, Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association (BDMA) who was part of the meeting. “However, it is still a suggestion and not an imposition to start the production of these selected APIs.” 

The list is likely to contain the fermentation process-based drugs such as crucial antibiotics penicillin, amoxicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and essential vitamin and hormonal pills. It’s a market that China dominates across the globe.   

Indian drugmakers import around 70 per cent of their total bulk drugs from China. In 2018-19 fiscal, the government had informed the Lok Sabha that the country’s firms imported bulk drugs and intermediates worth $2.4 billion from China. 


Also read: Modi govt halts plan to stop medicine export as firms in coronavirus-hit China resume work


In meeting, industry lists its difficulties

Wednesday’s meeting was attended by Sudhir Mehta of Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Pankaj Patel of Cadila Healthcare, Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma and Satish Reddy of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories among several other heads of Indian pharmaceutical companies. 

In the hour-long meeting, the industry highlighted its difficulty in procuring environmental clearances and the need for tax concessions for re-starting the production of APIs.

“The objective of the meeting was to understand from the industry how the government can help to revive the production of APIs in India. The idea is to come up with a comprehensive policy on API production in India,” said a government official who was part of the meeting. 

“We are already in talks with multiple ministries to facilitate the easy manufacturing of these products in India,” the official added.

The government has involved several ministries including the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Commerce and Trade, Ministry of Health, Department of Pharmaceuticals and the Ministry of Finance to draw up the final policy to revive the production.  

Lockdown in China 

India is, however, likely to struggle with a shortage of APIs due to the shutdown of the Chinese market. 

While several Indian drugmakers were well-stocked when the deadly coronavirus hit China,  the industry might run out of the key ingredients by mid-March. 

“Indian industry is so intertwined that it is impossible in our view to find a single player that would not be impacted by Chinese API shortages, should these materialise from post-mid-March,” said a paper titled India Pharmaceuticals: Coronavirus Impact and published by the Hong Kong-based equity research firm, Haitong International Securities Group.

In 2014, national security adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval had warned that “India runs the risk of a severe shortage of medicines because of its over-dependence on China for sourcing raw material for drugs”.  


Also read: Don’t arrange hotels, sightseeing for doctors — Modi govt’s fresh warning to pharma firms


 

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29 Comments Share Your Views

29 COMMENTS

  1. I am a pharmacist having more than 22 years of Pharmaceutical experience, in teaching, marketing etc, now interested in Manufacturing raw materials for pharma industry.
    Please provide the list of the 38 raw materials.

  2. Sir,
    Your initiative is good.your journalists do good detailed research and the video presentation is excellent.

    Regarding the current article, I think you should have given a link to the list of 38 APIs , every one is asking for it .

    Can you share this with me as well as everyone else?

  3. Respected Modi Sir,
    You know the current job scenerio. I am an experienced Engineer supported by many others who are very much interested to something new in the field of manufacturing especially related to drug raw materials.
    Please help us to do something in this field and not only help our country but help ourselves too.
    Sincere thanks and Respect.

  4. Respected Modi Sir,
    You know the current job scenerio. I am an experienced Engineer supported by many others who are very much interested to something new in the field of manufacturing especially related to drug raw materials.
    Please help us to do something in this field and not only help our country but help ourselves too.

    Sincere thanks and Respect.

  5. I can be manufacturer/supplier of API drugs mentioned here, if this list can be shared with me over an email, if necessary I can be contacted over phone at 9855220022

  6. I wish to join iin starting KSM or API currently being imported from china, I am having more than 20 year experience in Pharmaceutical MNC, contact no 9811531271, staying in Gurgaon

  7. Hi everyone, I also want to start API production. Is there anyone from pharmacy background please contact me 9654853626

    • dear sir,
      please provide thirty eight nos of active pharmaceutical ingredients which was imported from china
      phno- 9475014296
      c

  8. Rather commenting who’s doing what and when let’s start now , please provide us the list of raw material and help us , India can make up any time and in no time , PPE kits production is the example

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