Pharmaceutical Industry in India

The drugs and pharmaceutical industry has made phenomenal progress in India during the last four decades. The country new ranks are third in terms of volume of production (20 % of global share) and 14th largest by value. Indian export is destined to various countries around the globe including the USA, Europe, Japan and Australia (2016-2017). There are five Central Public Sector Undertakings and five joint Sector Undertaking in the pharmaceutical Industry Sector under the administrative control of the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemical. Besides, there are two wholly-owned subsidiaries. A brief profile of these organisations is given in the following paragraphs.

1. Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (IDPL)

It was incorporated in 1961. The company has presently three manufacturing plants one each at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Gurgaon (Haryana). IDPL has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, namely IDPL (Tamil Nadu) Lad, Chennai in Tamil Nadu and Bihar Drugs and Organic Chemicals Limited at Muzaffarpur (Bihar). In addition, IDPL has two joint sector undertakings, promoted in collaboration with the respective State Government. There are Rajsthan Drugs and Pharmaceutical Limited (RDPL), Jaipur and Odisha Drugs and Chemicals Ltd (ODCL), Bhubaneshwar.

2. Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL), Pimpri (Pune)

It was incorporated in 1954. It was the first public sector company in the drugs and pharmaceuticals industry. It has its own plant located in Pimpri. In collaboration with state governments, HAL maintains three joint sectors. These are Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Bangalore (Karnataka State), Maharashtra Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (MAPL) in Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Manipur State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (MSDPL) in Imphal (Manipur). The company manufactures a wide range of pharmaceutical formulations, including agro-veterinary drugs.

3. The Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Limited (BCPL)

It was incorporated in 1981. The company has four manufacturing units located at Maniktala (Kolkata), Panihati (24 Parganas West Bengal), one in Mumbai and one at Kanpur.

Most of the drugs and pharmaceutical units in India are located in Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu. Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. The important centres are Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Kanpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, Mumbai, Muzaffarpur (Bihar), Pune, Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), and Vadodra. The Surgical Instruments Plant at Chennai produces different types of surgical instruments, while the Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Limited (BCPL) with four manufacturing units is the largest producer of anti-snake venom in India.

Although it is producing a large variety of drugs and is meeting 75 per cent of its requirements by indigenous products. India is importing expensive life-saving drugs from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Spain, UK, and the USA.

Drug Policy in India

The salient features of the modified drug policy (1986) as announced on 15 September 1994 are:

  1. Abolition of Industrial Licensing for all bulk drugs, their intermediates and formulations except five bulk drugs of the public sector.
  2. Foreign investment up to 51 per cent will be automatically permitted in the case of bulk drugs, their intermediaries and their formulations.
  3. Automatic approval for foreign technology agreements shall be given in case of all bulk drugs, their intermediaries and formulations, except those produced by the use of recombinant DNA technology.
  4. In the case of basic manufacture, the rate of return would be higher by 4 per cent over the existing rates which are 14 per cent on net worth or 22 per cent on capital employed.
  5. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority to entrust with the task of price fixation/revision and other related matters.
  6. Government to keep a close watch on the prices of medicines which are taken out of price control.
  7. A National Drug Authority to be set up to look after the quality control aspects, national use of drugs, and related matters.
  8. To provide better focus to all matters relating to developing and promotion of indigenous and other systems of medicines, a separate department would be created by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Pharmaceutical Policy, 2002

The Government of India announced the New Pharmaceutical Policy 2002. The salient features of the policy are:

  1. Industrial licensing for all bulk drugs to be cleared by Drug Controller General of India.
  2. Foreign direct investment up to 100 per cent will be permitted subject to the stipulations laid down from time to time.
  3. Automatic approval for foreign technology agreement.
  4. Ceiling price may be fixed for any formulation.
  5. The government will keep a close watch on the prices of medicines.
  6. Price fixation by the Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, an independent body of experts.