ET Bureau Updated: Sep 13, 2019, 04.14 PM IST

HYDERABAD: Indian pharmaceutical exports are likely to touch $22 billion this fiscal largely owing to improving exports to and stabilising prices in the US market, which accounts for a third of India’s pharma exports, recording over 14.5% growth over last fiscal, forecasts Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), a part of the ministry of commerce and industry.

The other factor that was helping the Indian pharma exports was the overall economic slowdown across the globe that was compelling many economies to opt for generic drugs to substantially bring down their healthcare costs, said Pharmexcil director general Ravi Uday Bhaskar.

India’s pharma exports reported an 11% growth during the first quarter of the fiscal ending June 2019 at $5 billion, he said, adding that during July alone the Indian pharma exports saw a 21.7% growth at $1.72 billion. 

While the Indian pharm industry reached a size of $40 billion last fiscal, its exports stood at $19.2 billion, reporting a 10.72% growth over previous fiscal, and contributing 5.79% to India’s merchandise exports.

Uday Bhaskar said though India’s pharma exports to the US market recorded a negative growth of 8% during FY2018, they saw a 13.72% growth last fiscal thanks to revival in the US market and price stabilisation.

He was addressing journalists in Hyderabad on Friday on the eve of the ensuing two-day ‘International Regulators Meet’ in Hyderabad from September 19th titled ‘International Regulatory Convergence to Promote Accessibility and Affordability of Quality Medicines’.

Regulators from over 25 countries have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming global meet that would focus on major export destinations, have networking and global outreach and work towards harmonisation of regulations, he said.

During first quarter this fiscal, the Indian pharma exports saw 28% growth to the US market, 37% growth to China and 32% increase to Japan. The cumulative growth in Indian pharma exports for the first four months of current fiscal amounted to 13%.

Apart from increasing focus on exports to China and Japan aimed at long-term prospects, Pharmexcil has also seen increased interest from Australia and New Zealand in the Indian generic formulations, nutraceuticals and veterinary products.

In a bid to significantly bring down India’s dependence on China on import of chemicals, intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients now standing at around $2.5 billion a year, Pharmexcil has commissioned a study to promote exclusive manufacturing clusters, which could also help improve exports. The study is aimed at identifying the products that India majorly depends for imports and to develop the strategies and action plan to reduce import dependency. “The detailed project report now being prepared with the help of a private agency will be submitted to the ministry of commerce and industry in a week or so for its action,” said Uday Bhaskar.