The southeast European country, Serbia which is referred to as the crossroad of Europe due to its position in the central Balkan Peninsula, has thrown up opportunities for Indian pharmaceutical companies.
About 32 Serbian drug firms are looking for business collaboration with Indian drug makers. These companies are Uni-Chem, Farmix d.o.o, SB Trade, Zdravlje Actavis (part of Teva Group – Israel), Hemofarm (STADA Group – Germany), Galenika (NC Group – Brasil), Phoenix Pharma (German Company), Salveo, PharmaS, Interlab exim, AbelaPharm, ADOC, Dimidijus Pharm, Dragis pharm, Esensa, EcotradeBG, Innventa pharm, Inpharm, Vemax Pharma, Vemax Pharma, R&B Medical Company, Slaviamed, Sanomed, El Pharma, UTI, Oktal Pharma, Unifarm Medicom, Eurofarm, Proton System, Sibex Line, and Group International.
Some of these companies also assist in product registrations as required in Serbia.
Serbia could prove to be a stepping stone for Indian drug companies to boost their exports to EU, EFTA, CEFTA, EAEU regions, Turkey, Australia, Japan and USA since the country has free trade agreements with them.
According to Rados Gazdic, director at the Development Agency of Serbia, a skilled workforce, prime geographic location, financial incentives and tremendous support from the government are a few factors that make Serbia a hotspot for foreign investments.
A 10-year Corporate Profit Tax Holiday is available for investors who hire more than 100 employees and invest more than €8.5 million. The Tax holiday begins once the company starts making a profit.
Furthermore, investors can benefit from 14 free zones in Serbia that provide exemption from the payment of VAT and custom duties, said Gazdic.
Serbia has imported organic chemicals worth US$ 3,9954.9 and medicinal and pharmaceutical products worth US$ 6,487.7 from India in FY 2019.
The medicinal and pharmaceutical products which are imported from India include vitamins and their derivatives, Intermixtures of provitamins and vitamins, streptomycins and their derivatives; salts thereof, chloramphenicol and its derivatives; salts thereof, erythromycin and its derivatives; salts thereof, antibiotics, Ephedrines and their salts, Theophylline and aminophylline and their derivatives; salts thereof, steroidal hormones, their derivatives and structural analogues, glycosides and their derivatives, antisera and other blood fractions and modified immunological products, Sterile suture materials and sterile surgical catgut, adhesive dressings and other articles having an adhesive layer, dental cements and other dental fillings etc.
Serbia has offered immense opportunities for Indian pharma industry considering total imports and Indian share in the Serbian market. Considering this, the embassy of India, Belgrade has written to the Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) throwing light on business opportunities for India pharma industry in Serbia.
Said Uday Bhaskar, director general, Pharmexcil, “We have received communication from the embassy of India, Belgrade towards promotion of Indian pharmaceutical products in Serbia. The market offers tremendous opportunities for Indian drugmakers considering total imports and the share of Indian drug companies in the Serbian market.”
He said “We have requested member companies to avail this opportunity and contact the Serbian companies directly for business collaborations. The member companies can also send a proposal to the embassy of India, Belgrade which will further introduce them to the Serbian companies and concerned authorities for further correspondence on the subject.”
The Pharmexcil proposed to mount a trade delegation to Belgrade, Serbia during the first quarter of 2020. The delegation was however postponed due to time constraints and comparatively less participation interest from the member companies, added Bhaskar.