India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally

The FDI policy facilitated setting up of major pharmaceutical companies in NE India

India enjoys a vital 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 Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.
Market Size: The Indian pharmaceutical sector is expected to grow to US$ 100 billion, while the medical device market is expected to grow US$ 25 billion by 2025. Pharmaceuticals export from India stood at US$ 20.70 billion in FY2020. Pharmaceutical export includes bulk drugs, intermediates, drug formulations, biological and Ayush and herbal products.
India's biotechnology industry comprising biopharmaceuticals, bio services, bio agriculture, bio industry and bioinformatics is expected to grow at an average growth rate of around 30% year over year to reach US$ 100 billion by 2025. India's domestic pharmaceutical market turnover reached Rs 1.4 lakh crore (US$ 20.03 billion) in 2019, up by 9.8% year over year from Rs 129,015 crore (US$ 18.12 billion) in 2018.
The Union Cabinet has given its nod for amendment of the existing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy in the pharmaceutical sector in order to allow FDI up to 100% under the automatic route for manufacturing of medical devices subject to certain conditions.The drugs and pharmaceuticals sector attracted cumulative FDI inflow worth US$ 16.50 billion between April 2000 and March 2020 according to the data released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
Some of the recent developments/investments in the Indian pharmaceutical sector are as follows: In May 2020, Jubilant Generics Ltd entered into a non exclusive licensing agreement with US-based Gilead Sciences Inc to manufacture and sell the potential COVID-19 drug Remdesivir in 127 countries, including India; affordable medicines under Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana achieved record sales turnover of Rs 52 crore in April last; on Moving Annual Total (MAT) basis, industry growth during December 2019 was at 9.8%; with price growth at 5.3%, new product growth at 2.7% and volume growth at 2% (y-o-y); Telangana Government proposed Hyderabad Pharma City with financial assistance from the Central Government of Rs 3,418 crore in October 2019; the MAT for biosimilar molecules sold in the domestic market stood at Rs 1,498 crore as on August 2019; healthcare sector witnessed private equity of a total of US$ 1.1 billion with 27 deals in H12019 and Indian pharmaceutical industry's export to the US will now get a boost as branded drugs worth US$ 55 billion became off-patent during 2017 2019.
Moreover, India plans to set up a 1 lakh crore fund (approximately) to provide the much needed boost to companies to manufacture pharmaceutical ingredients domestically by 2023. The Cabinet in November 2019 approved extension/renewal of Pharmaceuticals Purchase Policy (PPP) with the same terms and conditions while adding one additional product namely, Alcoholic Hand Disinfectant to the existing list of 103 medicines till the final closure/strategic disinvestment of Pharma CPSUs. 
The Union Budget 2020/21 has allocated Rs 65,012 crore to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. An amount of 34,115 crore has been allocated towards National Health Mission under which rural and urban people shall get benefited. Rs 6,400 crore has been allocated to health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
'Pharma Vision 2020' was unveiled to make India a global leader in 'end to end' drug manufacture.
As per Economic Survey 2019/20, the GoI expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) increased to 1.6% in FY2020 from 1.2% in FY2015 on health. The National Health Protection Scheme is the largest government funded healthcare programme in the world, which is expected to benefit 100 million poor families in the country by providing a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. The programme was announced in Union Budget 2018/19.
Representative image
Image: Representative image
The Centre is also planning to set up an electronic platform to regulate online pharmacies under a new policy to stop any misuse due to easy availability. Thus, 'Pharma Vision 2020' was unveiled to make India a global leader in 'end to end' drug manufacture. Approval time for new facilities has been reduced to boost investment. Moreover, the GoI has offered Rs 6,940 crore production linked incentives between 5 and 20% for incremental sales and also plans to set up three mega drug parks to drive sustainable cost competitiveness.
Medicine spending in India is projected to grow 9 to 12% over next five years, leading India to become one of the top 10 countries in terms of medicine spending. Going forward, better growth in domestic sales would also depend on the ability of companies to align their product portfolio towards chronic therapies for diseases such as cardiovascular, anti-diabetes, anti-depressants and anti-cancers, which are on the rise.
The GoI has taken many steps to reduce costs and bring down healthcare expenses. Speedy introduction of generic drugs into the market has remained in focus and is expected to benefit the Indian pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the thrust on rural health programmes, lifesaving drugs and preventive vaccines also augurs well for the pharmaceutical companies.
Though North East India is still considered isolated from mainland India, but the FDI policy facilitated setting up of major pharmaceutical companies in NE India, namely:
Ozone Pharmaceuticals Ltd (with s 1000+ operational workforce it makes strong brands like DFO, Tranostat, and Dizone); Nilamani Pharmaceutical Works, a ISO 9001:2008 that manufactures various therapeutic ranges and is continuously expanding; Zuventus Healthcare Ltd that is becoming a global healthcare provider through research-based innovative and superior products with superior profiles; Ambit® Bio-Medix, a leading and one of the best PCD Pharma Franchise Company in India dedicated to enhancing the quality of the healthcare industry.
That is why India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally. The 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.

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