Indian Pharmaceutical Industry plays a major role to supply affordable generic medicine in the world at a very affordable price and of appreciable quality. India is the number one exporter of generic medicine (>20%) and the value of export of medicine from Indian market is around US$ 14 billion with a growth of 30% yearly. Currently, drugs manufactured in India are being exported to more than 200 countries, and the United States is one of the biggest markets for it.
Current situation due to COVID-19 is changing the overall situation in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry, like never before. Due to lockdown, the current demand for drugs across the country is also very high because of panic buying. The sales of the drugs increased by more than 9% overall. Some of the drugs are like Cardiac therapy drugs, anti-diabetic therapy drugs and respiratory medicines saw a sharp increase in 12-23 % during March. All the other drugs are also in high demand in the country. Some of the companies also had seen a growth of 20-30% in March only. Due to the high demand in the domestic market Indian government initially imposed a ban on 13 essential drugs to be exported to other countries but later it was lifted.
On the other hand, due to certain belief on Hydroxychloroquine, and Azithromycin which are believed to be helpful to cure mild symptoms of COVID-19 patients and give easy recovery; gives a huge opportunity to Indian pharmaceutical companies to boost their export business based on these drugs. The current situation opens up a new market for Indian companies for drug export to other countries where they don’t have any business. It was observed that the Indian companies produce around 70% of Hydroxychloroquine tablets of world’s total demand. Indian pharmaceutical companies are trying their best to meet the current demand both in the domestic and international market. Currently, India is exporting these drugs to more than 50 countries and Indian companies have increased their production by twofolds to meet the current demand.
To fulfil the demand, Indian pharmaceutical companies need a huge amount of Active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) which is mainly supplied from China. Thus, the Indian government has taken some necessary steps and made some policies to boost the increase of API production in the domestic market. This will help them to maintain their current production demand in the domestic and international market. The supply chain management of API, other raw materials and finished drugs is also a key factor for the growth of the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry.
During this time to maintain the growth, demand and overall supply chain the following steps and precautions should be followed:
- Sufficient amount of API supply to be maintained both by increasing the domestic production as well as import from China. However, China has restricted the supply of API to some extent. Thus, the Indian government and the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry should make attractive policies and take necessary steps to increase its own API production.
- Other materials required for API production and drugs’ formulation should also be sufficiently supplied by corresponding industry or should be exported from other countries.
- Pharmaceutical Production units should take necessary steps to prevent COVID-19 spread to their workers and production area. Regular check-up of the employee’s health should be done. Imported raw materials should be checked for COVID-19 contamination and other quality checks should be performed. Regular sanitization process is necessary for the whole unit and each employee associated with the whole process. Minimum social distance should be monitored in the working area.
- Supply chain management plays a key role to maintain the overall process. Government and Pharmaceutical Industry should develop proper coordination for smooth running of the process.
- Quality control process of raw materials and finished products are the key factors for the medicine to maintain the overall demand in the domestic and international market. Indian Pharmaceutical Industry and government regulatory authorities should work hand in hand for the easy, strict, accurate and smooth regulatory process and measurement.
Overall if the process is maintained properly then we have a very good opportunity to maintain a higher growth in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry, even during this challenging period. This environment would also create a huge job opportunity for the sector. Simultaneously the education sector also plays a major role to supply the current demand of workforce in the coming days.
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