Protectionist steps by foreign countries led to fall in exports of pharma products from India

Source: Pharmabiz

Friday, May 09, 2014

Increased restrictions and protectionism by several countries have led to the fall of exports in pharmaceutical sector in the last financial year, according to Pharmexcil which recently held an assessment on the scenario with the industry.

“Every country is trying to bolster their capabilities in generics sector and wants to be self-sufficient. They are encouraging investments, but discouraging imports with rigid regulatory regimes and by delaying registrations for our products,” said Pharmexcil director general Dr P V Appaji.

Indian pharmaceutical exports posted a negligible increase to $14.8 billion in 2013-14 against $14 billion in the previous year, as exports from big players such as Ranbaxy and Wockhardt took a hit due to quality issues raised by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), Pharmexcil said.

“There is a slow-down. In rupee terms, there was 20 per cent growth during the last fiscal, but in dollar terms, it was just 7 per cent.  The CAGR for the last four years stood at 17 per cent.   A number of problems are being faced by the industry,” he said, adding that the council recently met the captains of the industry to assess the situation.

Citing as one of the reasons for decline in exports, he said the costs for exports had gone up 20-30 times in some countries. “We have been looking to ensure a pie from countries like China and Japan, but these countries are promoting own generics in a big way,” Dr Appaji said.

However, joint secretary in the Commerce Ministry Sudhanshu Pandey played down an immediate threat to India in the generic segment. “We have advantage of skills and education in the field. If you look at the genesis of our growth, you will find that it took a long time and efforts to reach this far. It won’t be easy for the countries to match with this immediately,” he felt.

Pharmexcil officials also disclosed that India was trying to join the Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PICS), an informal group of 41 countries, to reduce the hardships faced by the exporters on getting plant audits and different certifications for each countries.

“The Health Ministry and the Commerce Ministry are examining the option of joining PICS. We feel that the problems exporters face in terms of meeting different GMP and inspection procedures in different countries will be sorted out if we join PICS,” Appaji said.

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