In an interview with businessline, R Uday Bhaskar, Director, General, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil), shares his thoughts
Pharmexcil Director General Ravi Uday Bhaskar | Photo Credit: CV SUBRAHMANYAM
With eight Indian companies among the top-20 global generic players in the world, India is now being seen as a pharmacy hub of the world with exports worth $24.62 billion. Apart from contributing 65 per cent of the total vaccines sourced by the World Health Organization (WHO), and being one of the main suppliers of Covid vaccines to the world, the pharma industry showed resilience in 2022, and is set to scale to new heights in the new year. In an interview with businessline, R Uday Bhaskar, Director, General, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil), shares his thoughts. Excerpts:
With Russia being a significant market in the CIS region, how have pharma exports been impacted by the war?
We are working very closely with Russian agencies to tackle the situation. Contrary to the initial fears, it did not show any big impact. Our data shows a degrowth of exports to Russia by about 6 per cent in April-Nov, but it might get adjusted in the remaining three quarters of the current fiscal.
In terms of export destinations, where do you see the need to take steps to boost exports?
While things in the US and Europe are satisfactory, Africa is one of the markets where we need to focus more. We need to continue to work closely to arrest some negative trends, and send the right message that Indian generics are very much relevant to African countries, in terms of price and quality.
What are the measures you suggest to sustain competition and boost exports further?
Off-patent-driven opportunities will dwindle, going forward. If the industry remains focussed on conventional generics, we may have tough times in the future as some other countries are catching up in this segment. Drugmakers need to move in the direction of emerging areas such as biosimilars, complex generics and customised medicine to tap the huge potential in the days to come. Import-substitution is also important. The PLI scheme is helping to an extent in this regard, but more efforts and industry-government collaboration will be needed.
How has been the growth in pharma exports in 2022?
We have offset some of the challenges like geo-political issues and pricing pressures. We are expected to reach $27 billion exports in the current fiscal year, compared to $24.62 billion in 2021-22.