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Recently, during inauguration of Global Innovation Summit of the pharmaceuticals sector Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed, India as the Pharmacy of the world. He said that our definition of wellness is not limited by physical boundaries. We have exported life-saving medicines and medical equipment to over 150 countries during the initial phase of the pandemic. We have also exported more than 65 million doses of COVID vaccines to nearly 100 countries this year.

But what does it mean for Indian pharmacist and pharmaceutical sector?

India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally. Indian pharmaceutical sector supplies over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the US and 25% of all medicine in the UK. Globally, India ranks 3rd in terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and 14th by value. The domestic pharmaceutical industry includes a network of 3,000 drug companies and around 10,500 manufacturing units.
India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector. The country also has a large pool of scientists and engineers with a potential to steer the industry ahead to greater heights. Presently, over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.

According to the Indian Economic Survey 2021, the domestic market is expected to grow 3 times in the next decade. India’s domestic pharmaceutical market is estimated at USD 42 billion in 2021 and likely to reach USD 65 billion by 2024 and further expand to reach around USD 120-130 billion by 2030.
India's biotechnology industry comprising biopharmaceuticals, bio-services, bio-agriculture, bio-industry, and bioinformatics. The Indian biotechnology industry was valued at USD 64 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 150 billion by 2025.
India’s medical devices market stood at USD 10.36 billion in FY20. The market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 37% from 2020 to 2025 to reach USD 50 billion.
As of August 2021, CARE Ratings expect India's pharmaceutical business to develop at an annual rate of 11% over the next two years to reach more than USD 60 billion in value.

In the global pharmaceuticals sector, India is a significant and rising player. India is the world's largest supplier of generic medications, accounting for 20% of the worldwide supply by volume and supplying about 60% of the global vaccination demand. The Indian pharmaceutical sector is worth USD 42 billion and ranks 3rd in terms of volume and 13th in terms of value worldwide.
In August 2021, the Indian pharmaceutical market increased at 17.7% annually, up from 13.7% in July 2020.
India’s drugs and pharmaceuticals exports stood at USD 24.44 billion in FY21. India is the 12th largest exporter of medical goods in the world. The country’s pharmaceutical sector contributes 6.6% to the total merchandise exports. As of May 2021, India supplied a total of 586.4 lakh COVID-19 vaccines, comprising grants (81.3 lakh), commercial exports (339.7 lakh) and exports under the COVAX platform (165.5 lakh), to 71 countries. Indian drugs are exported to more than 200 countries in the world, with US being the key market. Generic drugs account for 20% of the global export in terms of volume, making the country the largest provider of generic medicines globally. India’s drugs and pharmaceuticals exports stood at USD 3.76 billion between April 2021 and May 2021. The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow in the Indian drugs and pharmaceuticals sector stood at USD 18.12 billion between April 2000 and June 2021.

Under Union Budget 2021-22, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been allocated Rs. 73,932 crore (USD10.35 billion) and the Department of Health Research has been allocated Rs. 2,663 crore (USD 365.68 billion). The government allocated Rs. 37,130 crore (USD 5.10 billion) to the 'National Health Mission’. PM Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana was allocated Rs. 64,180 crore (USD 8.80 billion) over six years. The Ministry of AYUSH was allocated Rs. 2,970 crore (USD 407.84 million), up from Rs. 2,122 crore (USD 291.39 million).

To achieve self-reliance and minimise import dependency in the country's essential bulk drugs, the Department of Pharmaceuticals initiated a PLI scheme to promote domestic manufacturing by setting up greenfield plants with minimum domestic value addition in four separate ‘Target Segments’ with a cumulative outlay of Rs. 6,940 crore (USD 951.27 million) from FY21 to FY30.

In June 2021, Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman announced an additional outlay of Rs. 197,000 crore (USD 26,578.3 million) that will be utilised over five years for the pharmaceutical PLI scheme in 13 key sectors such as active pharmaceutical ingredients, drug intermediaries and key starting materials.

In August 2021, Union Health Minister, Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya announced that an additional number of pharmaceutical companies in India are expected to commence manufacturing of anti-coronavirus vaccines by October-November 2021. This move is expected to further boost the vaccination drive across the country.

In February 2021, the Punjab government announced to establish three pharma parks in the state. Of these, a pharma park has been proposed at Bathinda, spread across 1,300 acres area and project worth Rs. 1,800 crore (USD 245.58 million). Another medical park worth Rs. 180 crore (USD 24.56 million) has been proposed at Rajpura and the third project, a greenfield project, has been proposed at Wazirabad, Fatehgarh Sahib.

The Prime Minister also envisioned creating an eco-system for innovation that will make India a leader in drug discovery and innovative medical devices.  He said policy interventions are being made based on wide consultation with all stakeholders. He noted that India has a large pool of scientists and technologists with a potential to take the industry to greater heights.

In many of his speeches, Indian Prime minister talked about nation’s vision as ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ which means the whole world is a family. And pharmaceutical industry is proving it right in a real mean. All the evolution of pharmaceutical industry and Indian policies will boost employment opportunities and Pharmaceutical industry is skill based industry which will need skilled pharmaceutical professionals for further growth. Apart from that few foreign pharma corporates are settling their headquarters for regulatory and clinical trial requirements in India which again boosting the domestic hiring.

The Global pharmaceutical market is around 1.3 trillion USD and we have plenty of opportunities to thrive and grab the market. As overall economy is growing for the country, India will require more research molecules to stay ahead in the competition.

- Rajesh Vagh