Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu, met representatives of pharma and chemicals industries along with chairmen of Pharmexcil and Chemexcilin. The meeting was held to discuss the preparation of a strategy and an action plan which will help chemicals and pharma companies to boost exports and identify specific problems that are affecting both these industries and hampering production and exports.
During the meeting, Commerce Minister said that the Ministry recognizes certain issues that need to be addressed for enhancing exports in the chemical sector and he promised to take up all the issues with other Ministries and Departments of Government of India.
Minister elaborated that expansion of Interest Equalization Scheme needs to be done by adding more tariff lines, the process of environmental clearance to be speeded up especially relating to product mix and also expeditious approval process. There is also a need for the removal of pre-import condition for advance authorization (with prospective effect). Minister further said that additional MEIS support for specific commodities for specific markets due to disadvantage arising out of other countries FTAs also needs to be addressed. Suresh Prabhu stated that the Commerce Ministry will seek support from Indian embassies and missions abroad to understand the market profile of the country and then disseminate the same among the domestic industries.
Speaking to the pharma industry representatives Commerce Minister said that Ministry recognizes that some important factors have affected exports recently, especially to the US, including buyer consolidation in US into three major groups with accompanying buyer’s power, pressure on drug pricing due to record number of US ANDA (Abbreviated New Drug Application) approvals, foreign regulatory issues, lack of blockbuster drugs going off patent in the recent years. However, Commerce Minister observed that the pharma industry has made a very good recovery with industry consolidation, resolution of export-related longstanding regulatory issues, strong domestic growth and export led focus, leading to strong growth of exports to US, EU and other important markets.
Suresh Prabhu said that Commerce Ministry supports pharma exports through its schemes of reimbursement of product registrations abroad upto Rs 50 lakh per year- this ceiling has been enhanced recently to Rs 2 crore per year with additional components, which will encourage exporters to register and sell more products in new and potential markets. Commerce Ministry also provides financial support to industry for participation in trade events, BSMs abroad and in organizing flagship industry events in India, like IPhex and CPhI. Minister also said that the Ministry is facilitating market access in important markets like China, Russia and CIS and Vietnam.
The other initiatives of the Commerce Ministry include highlighting and resolving pending issues with various Government of India Departments, like waiver of GST to incentivize export of R&D services, extending the validity of CoP and waiver of NOC for exports.
India’s pharma exports have grown handsomely from USD 15.43 billion in 2014-15, based on current trends. India is likely to record highest-ever pharma exports this FY 2018-19 of approx. USD 19 billion.
Indian pharma industry plays a leading role globally, with 10% share of world production volumes and a 2.4% share globally in terms of value. Exports are more than 50% of the total Indian pharma industry turnover and help provide affordable healthcare through high quality yet affordable generic drugs and formulations.
Pharma exports in 2017-18 were USD 17.27 billion.Main components are drug formulations & biologicals USD 12.91 billion and bulk drugs & drug intermediates USD 3.54 billion.
Pharma exports to the stringent regulatory authorities (US, EU, Canada, Australia, Russia) account for 51% of the total exports, with the highest share of exports to US (USD 5.11 billion) and EU (USD 2.75 billion). India has the highest number of USFDA approved plants, outside of the US, and a large number of EU/Japan/Australia FDA approved plants too.
Pharma exports for April-December 2018-19 are USD 13.94 billion, a growth of 9.32% over the previous year. Exports to the most important and competitive markets of US and EU have grown by 8.74 % and 12.88 % respectively.