India’s pharmaceutical industry is one of the most vibrant sectors of the Indian economy. The pharma sector alone employs over 4 million people. The industry has expanded significantly in the past decade, owing to the rising demand for generic drugs, and increased R&D investments, combined with government policies and incentives. The pharma industry outperformed other key sectors amidst the pandemic in India. Today, 1 out of 3 pills taken by any patient globally is manufactured in India.
Every year, experts from the different domains of the pharma sector gather at the Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC), a forum for discussing new technologies, trends, challenges, and opportunities in drug development and manufacturing. The IPC has helped in fostering innovation in the Indian pharma market. In addition, it provides a platform for knowledge-sharing and networking between stakeholders in the industry, including entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, and regulators. This congress deliberates on how India can become a global leader in pharmaceuticals.
The 3-day event was inaugurated by Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways. The theme for this year was- ‘access to quality and affordable medical products’, with a special focus on topics such as digital transformation, AI-driven drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, and regulatory compliance. Speaking at the event, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, highlighted the role of building mega bulk drug parks in states. He also praised the Indian Pharma sector for saving the lives of lakhs of people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Indian Pharma sector was the knight in shining armor for the population impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sudhir Valia-led Sun Pharma, Paramjit Arora’s Health Biotech, and Dr. Reddy’s headed by G V Prasad, emerged as the top pharmaceutical manufacturers. Health Biotech’s Remdesivir was instrumental in helping COVID patients globally. Paramjit Arora Director, Health Biotech, attributed his company’s success in the pandemic to the care-focused and research-driven approach.
“We have always ensured that the company maintains the ethical standard in clinical research and medical practice,” says Paramjit Arora, Director, Health Biotech. As a result, the pharma company is highly valued for its products, research, and business activities”. The company has a robust portfolio of medicines that comprise of cardiovascular, anti-helminthic, anti-malarial, and anti-allergic medicines, among many others.
To provide full support to the R&D in the pharma sector, Dr. V G Somani, Drugs Controller General of India, announced at the IPC that the Centre is all set to introduce a research-linked incentive program. The program will be shaped along the lines of the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for boosting the research and development of biotech products in the country. The PLI scheme aims to give companies incentives for incremental sales from products manufactured within the Indian shores.
At the time of independence, the Indian pharma sector was almost non-existent. Today, the valuation stands at a whopping $50 billion. Spurt to innovation provided by the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative has bolstered the health infrastructure and the government’s aim to establish India as a global leader in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The pharma industry in India is looking to shift from volume to value leadership in 2023, with the mantra of reinventing and innovating as we move forward.