The government has done a molecule-by-molecule mapping of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) imported from China to ramp up domestic production and imports from third party sources in view of the supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The government is also preparing for making special arrangements for APIs that still need sourcing from China.
In an exclusive interview to IANS, the government”s Principal Economic Advisor Sanjeev Sanyal said that though the country has API stocks for at least three weeks, they have already completed molecular mapping of the ingredients required for manufacturing of essential pharmaceuticals, domestically.
“If after three weeks, if we need to airlift special consignments, arrangements for that too will be made,” he said asserting that there was no need for panic.
The Indian pharma industry heavily relies on imports of bulk drugs (APIs and intermediates), with more than 50 per cent of API coming from China. Imports from China have been on a steady rise over the years due to the low-cost advantage Chinese manufacturers have. The value addition in India is mainly through formulation, packaging and distribution.
The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted supplies of pharmaceutical ingredients from China, resulting in shortages and potential price rise of generic drugs in India.
Sanyal said the government took preemptive measures and “has been continuously making micro-interventions to keep supply chains functional as best as can be done.”
Some of the critical imported APIs, he said, can be produced in India for which certification is required. “We have speeded up internal certification for third party sources and as well as ramped up domestic production wherever possible. We are capable of producing some of it in India,” he said, adding that importers are also being allowed to self-certify where documentation is incomplete due to office disruptions in China, with the understanding that they will later submit all the paper work.
This has been done for other critical manufacturing inputs as well.
The economic advisor said that the government was also prepared for the bunching of supplies when the situation normalizes in China. “If and when bunching of supplies happens, we have set up the system and improved coordination to fast process the critical ingredients and other inputs,” he said.
According to Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) data, India also sources close to 90 per cent of certain mobile phone parts from China. The world”s largest manufacturer and exporter, China also accounts for 45 per cent of India”s total electronics imports, one-third of machinery and almost two-fifths of organic chemicals and over 25 per cent of automotive parts and fertilizers.
Sanyal said the government was already making arrangements for imports from alternative countries which are still insulated the coronavirus epidemic. “Certifications and paper work are being put in place at the ports for imports from other sources,” he said.-Outlook India