India is World’s leading vaccine manufacturer. Over 20% of global generic drugs come from India. Since the pandemic, the exports of Indian pharmaceuticals have only risen, and this trend is expected to stay positive. With industry-standards-compliant mega-production capabilities and a massive number of skilled domestic workforce, Indian exports meet the standards and requirements of highly regulated markets of the USA, UK, EU, and Canada. But an industry with such a massive market share also carries enormous risks. Risks of tainted and counterfeit medicines threaten India’s position as the pharmacy of the World. Parmjit Arora’s Health Biotech, one of the prominent pharma manufacturing companies of India, believes that India has the capability to increase the quality as well as quantity of its pharma exports.
Health Biotech is a major exporter of pharmaceuticals to over 50+ countries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Biotech’s Remdesivir proved to be a life-changing drug for people affected by the pandemic all over the World. Talking about the same, Health Biotech’s Director Parmjit Arora says, “Remdesivir’s demand was at an all-time high during the last two years. Our team of dedicated scientists, along with our excellent production team, made sure that we were able to deliver the medicine to as many people as possible.”
The global pharma market is valued in trillions of dollars, and India’s pharma exports are worth about $25 billion and the growth trajectory isn’t stopping anytime soon. The emerging technology in this sector is capable of going beyond the generics segment. New drug deliveries are within our reach. The enormous employment opportunities in the sector make it one of the most sought-after industries. Currently, the pharma industry employs more than 5 lakh people. This number could increase dramatically with the right focus on innovative quality control in manufacturing, storage and transportation and marketing. But all this comes at stake when reports emerge of India-made drugs killing or maiming innocent lives abroad. India has to work on the shortcomings.
Last year the much-highlighted case of alleged deaths of children in Gambia due to poisonous cough syrups exposed the loopholes in the regulations of the Indian pharma sector. It opened Pandora’s Box. Many such cases were reported in Uzbekistan as well, and the most recent case of contaminated eye drops being supplied by an Indian pharma company to the US market has created quite an uproar internationally. Whenever we talk about the credibility of the Indian pharmaceutical industry to international agencies and consumers, we majorly count our exports going to the US and EU and a large chunk to the other highly regulated markets. So, if anything happens at the level of the US FDA, it will create a lot of nuisances for India. Hence, the entire international media, particularly in the US, is highlighting these issues prominently.
Pharma exports need to be highly regulated, as one wrong move can wreak havoc on the entire domestic industry. Pharma is a demanding business and depends on dedicated people and quality investments to ensure good manufacturing practices. India’s drug quality regulation is fragmented, with different states following different standards and different levels of efficacy. For India to maintain their position in the global pharma market, this must change with harmonization and uniformly stringent quality control through detailed, repeated and diligent checks and tests.
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