India New Zealand Business Council welcomed the first ever official pharmaceutical industry delegation from India in July.
The 16-member delegates were members of the Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmaexcil), which the Government of India’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry set up in 2004. Officials of Pharmexcil were also part of the delegation.
INZBC Treasurer Earl Rattray officially welcomed the delegation followed by an address by Honorary Consul of India in Auckland, Bhav Dhillon.
Pharmexcil Director General Ravi Uday Bhaskar said the delegation’s visit to New Zealand and Australia was well-received and was supported by the respective Indian High Commissions in the two countries.
India’s pharmaceutical industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the past couple of decades. Briefly tracing the history of India’s pharmaceutical industry, Mr Uday Bhaskar said in the 1960s, India imported some 65 per cent of pharmaceutical drugs it needed. Today it is not only self-sufficient but is fast emerging as the pharmacy to the world, supplying medications for such ailments as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.
“India is not just providing these life-saving drugs to the world. But it’s doing so at extremely affordable prices,” Mr Uday Bhaskar said. In an environment where government spending on healthcare is decreasing in many parts of the world, Indian pharma has an increasingly important role to play, he added. “Pharmexcil is charged with taking Indian medicines to the world.”
Pharma exports from India are worth about US$19 billion in a global market that is worth some $1.2 trillion. Eight Indian companies figure in the list of the world’s top 20 pharma companies today.
Nearly 40 per cent of generic medications in the United States are imported from India. The Indian pharma industry is the main supplier for credible, affordable and efficacious drugs to dozens of nations in the African continent.
Earlier, Honorary Consul Mr Bhav Dhillon said though New Zealand’s population is just 4.5 million compared to India’s 1.3 billion, New Zealand’s economy was one-tenth the size that of India, which is significant. And though the New Zealand market might seem small, it is worth noting that per capita spending on medication is considerable among Kiwis.
He urged New Zealand pharma companies to take up the new initiatives of the new government to partner with Indian companies and become part of the hub for pharma companies that India is emerging as.
New Zealand government agency Pharmac, which decides which medicines and related products are subsidised for use in the community and public hospitals, imports about $1billion worth of drugs from the international market every year. Imports from India have been rising. Substantial volumes of paracetamol dispensed in New Zealand are sourced from India. Mr Dhillon said the India pharma industry must look beyond bulk generics and focus more on high value, specialty drugs in oncology and cancer treatment.
Pharmaco Managing Director Chandra Selvadurai also addressed the main session of the daylong conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Auckland.