Atmanirbhar Bharat in Pharmaceutical industry

Atmanirbhar Bharat is a mission to make India self-reliant in the international supply chain market. India is one of the largest manufacturer of pharmaceutical formulations and is ranked 3rd by volume.

India has the highest number of USA-approved plants to manufacture formulations in the world. We have low-cost skills and labor that gives us a sustainable competitive edge. However India is still not self-reliant on the manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), hence our dependence on imports especially from China is very high.

Our bulk drug import is 70% from China. The majority of antibiotics raw material is imported from China. On 27th February 2020 an inter-ministerial committee presented its report, mentioning India’s dependence on China for 58

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). Out of 58 APIs, the committee suggested a scheme for 53 APIs.

The Drug Security Committee suggested the Department of Pharmaceuticals to prepare two schemes for encouraging domestic manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients: a production-linked incentives (PLI) scheme and a scheme for constructing Bulk Drug Parks.

On 20th March 2020, the Cabinet approved above schemes. Production-linked incentives scheme helped to set up 32 new manufacturing plants of Pharmaceutical Ingredients and manufactured 35 APIs. The government has declared Rs 6,940 crores production linked incentives between 5% -20% for incremental sales.

The government is planning the import duty on APIs to 20-25% from the current 10% to promote domestic manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. Production-linked incentives assisted in the fast introduction of generic drugs in the market, reducing the cost and healthcare expenses and helping the government to focus on rural health programs and manufacturing of lifesaving drugs and preventive vaccines by Pharma companies. The PLI scheme also helped employment generation.

Pharmaceutical industry is one arena where India may rapidly strive to be “ Atmanirbhar“.