Hyderabad: In a feel good development, pharma exports from India during the financial year 2017-18 have increased by nearly $ 3 billion to touch $ 17.26 (about Rs 1.17 lakh crore) from $ 16.64 billion (about Rs 1.13 lakh crore) during the previous year. This growth happened despite an eight per cent de-growth in the US, which accounts for about 30 per cent of the total exports from India, according to Pharmexcil Director General R Udaya Bhaskar.
“Export value rising despite a de-growth in the US is major thing and this has happened for the first time in several years. Normally, we see a negative trend if US as a market does not do well. But that has changed now,” he said.
Despite last year’s minus eight per cent growth in exports, the export volumes to US are on the rise. “Pricing pressure and cartel of major distributors in the US have not disturbed Indian exports as far as volumes are concerned. If volumes are going as they are, it is a positive sign. If volumes are going down and values are going down, then it is to be viewed seriously. There is no disturbance as far as volumes are concerned,” he said.
According to him, the trend implies that India has been successful in finding new markets, reviving or increasing exports to other markets. Among others, exports to China increased 37 per cent to touch about $ 200 million (Rs 1,360 crore) this financial year from $ 137 million (Rs 931 crore) the previous year. The growth in China is expected to be similar or more this financial year, the official said.
China making imports of anti-cancer drugs zero-duty is a key factor that helped India increase its exports. Out of the 138 anti-cancer drugs, 103 are made zero duty, he said. “This development will augur well for the Indian pharma industry and will result in increasing exports, both in volumes and value,” Bhaskar said.
About 30 million people are added to the cancer population in China every year, he said about the need for easing import norms. “If China has to depend only on patented products, its medical expenses will rise significantly. That is why it is opening up to generics,” the official said adding that the zero duty applies to not just India but to all nations exporting to China.
“While the current size of export to China is small compared to its population and business potential, entry is time consuming and requires the Indian companies to register with it and adhere to rules it specifies. But the developments suggest that the procedures will be liberalised,” he said.
“For instance, Africa, in the previous year, has seen a minus ten per cent growth. Now, we recovered that and we are about 13 per cent more than the last year. Within Africa, South Africa, a highly regulated market, has seen a 25 per cent growth and the current exports are more than $ 500 million (about Rs 3,400 crore) ,” the official said that Indian exports are able to make a mark even in highly regulated markets. UK, US and Japan continue to be major markets.
No economy, barring a handful of countries, is strong. Medical expenses are growing. “Every country wants to reduce their medical expenses. In this scenario, everybody will look at Indian pharmaceutical industry for the generic drugs, which will be a positive,” he said.