The growing cases of COVID-19 worldwide added several limitations to the global supply chain for the pharmacy industry. This led India, The pharmacy of the world’ to limit or curb exports to other nations. However, as COVID-19 researchers found that Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is extremely helpful in the prevention & treatment of coronavirus disease, the dependency on India for the drug began to increase.
Many countries like the US, Brazil, Mali and 30 others requested India to supply HCQ as the number of cases began to rapidly increase across the world. This made the country to make selective decisions on exports of life-saving drugs, key medicines for the treatment of coronavirus patients and a few essential medical aids. Though the underlying global lockdown led to many challenges for the pharma manufacturing companies in India, there were a few opened doors to newer opportunities as well.
· API Dependency on China
India being a large scale, high-quality manufacturer of several pharmacy drugs is yet dependent upon China for raw materials for manufacturing. These are basically Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), that serves as a key ingredient in the manufacturing of medicines and drugs.
Since India imports nearly 70% of APIs from China, the strict lockdown came as a challenge at manufacturing. If we take a look at the previous decade, India’s began to totally depend on China for such type of ingredients to manufacture key drugs such as metformin, paracetamol, aspirin, certain antibiotics like amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin and also many advanced drugs.
· Sub-standard & Spurious Drug Manufacturing
Many Indian pharmaceutical companies have badly affected their business performance due to the manufacturing of spurious and sub-standard drugs. Sub-standard or spurious drugs are about producing a resemblance of high-value drugs and concealing the true identity. They are manufactured using the same formulations but using a lower standard of ingredients.
Based on the on-going trends observed in the pharma industry, it is believed that India can look up to the following opportunities –
· Investment in Biotechnology
The biotechnology industry that is constituted of bio-services, bio-industry, bio-pharmaceuticals, bio-informatics and bio-agriculture is expected to rise by 30% y-o-y and reach a $100 billion target by 2025. This creates an opportunity for India to invest in this sector for higher profits.
· Improve Regulatory Policies
The regulatory policies of several pharmaceuticals products in India must be improved to implement a better price control, patent and growth in the industry.
· Research & Development Plan
The coronavirus outbreak along with other limitations served as a reality check for India, giving the country an opportunity to strengthen its local API manufacturing and Pharma Industry’s R&D Efforts.
· Government Grants & Policies
For setting up a small scale to mid-sized manufacturing centres or incubators in every state of the country, the government must design feasible grants & policies. This will improve the availability of raw materials to manufacture generics enabling smaller healthcare units and patients for cost-effective consumption.
· Growth in Functional Testing
The nation leverage the opportunity to plant functional testing units across all states of the country to optimise the turnaround time required for raw material specifications of different pharmaceutical drugs. There are pharma companies in Mumbai that have been initializing and working towards improvising testing units of the pharmacy industry.
· Skilled Manpower
By improving education programmes based on the upcoming trends in the pharmacy sector, the country can achieve skilled and professional manpower from the different academic institution to boost the industrial developments for the future.