Indian pharmaceutical companies are going local to no longer depend on China

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India’s pharmaceutical industry will need to strengthen its infrastructure and speed up drug approval to tackle China.

Indian pharmaceutical companies are turning to local manufacturers of so-called active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) or trying to manufacture them in-house in a bid to end their dependence on China as ties between the two countries have deteriorated after a deadly clash at the border last June.

Although India is known as the world’s pharmacy for its massive generic drug and vaccine production capabilities, China accounted for half of its API needs in 2019, up from almost none three decades ago, data shows. Of the industry.

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Executives from Cadila Healthcare, Cipla, Sun Pharmaceutical and Biocon in India said on Tuesday they were actively working to reduce reliance on the richest rival for raw materials.

The disruption of supplies from China due to the Covid-19 pandemic was also a major factor, they said, as early last year many had to scramble to find ingredients. to manufacture important drugs sold around the world.

“Due to anti-China sentiment … most companies are trying to reduce their risk by making it clear that their supply chain links with China are limited,” said Gaurav Suchak, head of the supply from Cadila, to BioAsia. conference organized by Telangana.

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“For critical API molecules, the idea is to go towards an upstream integration where you control this cake that will have the most impact on your business, and also to ensure that the entire value chain is secure. ”

Companies are also looking for reliable local suppliers who can promise consistency and competitive pricing, he said.

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Cipla’s chief sourcing officer, Swapn Malpani, said he had launched an “API reimagining” program to possibly expand its own manufacturing capabilities using recent government incentives such as production subsidies, by more than working with local suppliers.

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Biocon procurement manager Prasad Deshpande said the company had a target on “China’s independent revenue percentage.”

“We are happy to say that in the last quarter we were almost 50% completely independent from China,” Deshpande said. “This does not mean that we will not source from China, but that we are no longer dependent on China.”

But he also said India should improve its infrastructure and speed up approval processes to take China’s scale and speed.

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