India developing bulk drugs to reduce import dependence


India is in the process of developing a range of bulk drugs to reduce import dependence, especially from China, a top government official said today. 

Although a large quantity of bulk drugs is imported from China, India has enough capacity for producing active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) G N Singh told PTI on the sidelines of a CII event here. 

We are exporting to most of the developed markets including EU, US and Japan so there is capacity, barring some of the molecules, where we are working, so that (import) dependency may also be curtailed. So, in due course of time that threat would not be there," he said. 

India's bulk drug imports from top five countries stood at Rs 18,372.54 crore in 2016-17 with China accounting for 66 per cent. 

The country's import of APIs from China stood at Rs 12,254.97 crore in 2016-17, while that from the US was at Rs 820.18 crore. 

Singh said India has both capacity and capability to produce APIs although production of some of the bulk drugs was curtailed, driven by market dynamics. 

"If need arises, the industry, the regulator, the scientific fraternity and the government are ready to meet the challenges," Singh said. 

The regulator is constantly engaged with the industry on ways to address the issue, he added. 

"It is an issue but not something, which cannot be solved," Singh said. 

On the challenges being faced by Indian pharmaceutical industry in terms of scrutiny by regulators from across the world, Singh said: "It is good. When you are growing, you should be ready for scrutiny and when other regulators are coming it gives opportunity to address our weakness and convert it into strength." 

The industry should should take it as an opportunity, he added.