AHMEDABAD: In what could help reduce Gujarat and India’s dependence on foreign countries, the central government has cleared the decks for setting up dedicated parks for bulk drugs and medical devices in Gujarat.
Although a leader in production of drug formulations, Gujarat is far behind states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in bulk drugs manufacturing.
“The Scheme Steering Committee (SSC) operating under the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) in the Union ministry of chemicals and fertilizers has agreed to provide funds for bulk drugs and medical devices parks in Gujarat,” confirmed H G Koshia, commissioner, Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA).
The park for bulk drugs — also called active pharmaceuticals ingredients (APIs) — has been okayed for Bharuch.
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API is a key raw material used to manufacture drug formulations. The medical devices park will come up some 30km from Limdi towards Rajkot.
“SSC offers financial assistance for creation of common facilities in an industrial park. Gujarat government’s proposal was accepted by SSC this week,” said Koshia, who was present during Gujarat government’s presentation to SSC.
Gujarat will get funds to the tune of Rs 200 crore for bulk drugs park and Rs 25-50 crore for the medical devices park. Detailed project reports for the same will now be submitted.
“Gujarat is already a top state in pharmaceutical production. These parks will further encourage production of bulk drugs and medical devices, for which we are very much dependent on the global market,” Koshia added.
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“The cost of production comes down due to usage of common facilities in a park and local players can become price-competitive globally,” Koshia said.
More importantly, these parks will help reduce growing dependence of Indian pharma firms on Chinese bulk drugs.
Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS) data reveals that China accounted for 68% (Rs 17,263 crore) of India’s total bulk drugs and intermediates imports worth Rs 25,552 crore in 2018-19.
Overall, India’s dependence on imports has gone up by 23% from 2016-17 to 2018-19. Similarly, around 60% of medical devices in India are imported.
“There is a buzz in the market that the central government is planning to streamline procedure for obtaining environment clearance by API units.
In this backdrop, approval to bulk drugs park will further provide impetus to API production in the state.
It will also help reduce our dependence on Chinese imports,” said Viranchi Shah, chairman, Gujarat State Board, Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA).
Similarly, around 60% requirement for medical devices is met through imports. Previously, Gujarat government had planned a medical devices park at Sanand and land was also earmarked.
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However, the common facilities could not be developed, said sources privy to the information.
The government of India has asked the state government to earmark 750-1,000 acres land for bulk drugs parks.
Around 250 acres of land has already been provisioned for the medical devices park.