Self-sufficiency in bulk drugs remains a distant dream as India remains import dependent with over dependence on China, even for essential drugs and many intermediates. Earlier, the government declared 2015 as the year of bulk drugs or Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in a bid to promote its Make in India initiative. Four years are nearly over but self-sufficiency in bulk drugs remains a distant dream.
In my opinion, the government should consider it as national emergency and allocate enough focus to come out of this situation in the shortest time possible. Business de-risking is of utmost important for sustainability, and this being a healthcare industry, alternate plan B should be in place.
In order to de-risk, self-sufficiency in all intermediates and starting materials should be ensured by producing locally while maintaining market/commercial viability. One way of achieving this is by government sponsored programmes as they provide conducive environment for the bulk drug industry to develop in India by facilitating necessary infrastructure by building bulk drug manufacturing parks in different corners of the country, facilitate common infrastructure for testing, ETP and STPs run by them and providing facility at affordable costs. Encouraging innovation by rewarding cost-effective process developers, and supporting technocrats to invest and develop process improvement and next century technologies.
On the procedural front, providing single window license, tax incentivisation, power subvention, income tax and GST subvention along with investment subsidies will bolster the industry again, and make India free from single country dependency for manufacture of life saving drugs and their intermediates.