No APIs, drugs shortage in India due to coronavirus: Sadananda Gowda

The minister also announced that the Centre had given in-principle approval for an API park and a medical devices park in Gujarat | File photo
Amid industry concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) scare, Union Minister for Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals, D V Sadananda Gowda on Thursday said that there were no shortage of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and drugs. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the 'India Pharma 2020' and 'India Medical Devices 2020' event organised by Ficci, Gowda said, "There is certain confusion regarding supply and availability of medicines. We have sufficient quantities of medicines and APIs. So for another three months there is no shortage for manufacturers."

Gowda was responding to an earlier comment by former Ficci president and chairman of Zydus Group, Pankaj Patel, on how the industry has been calling for the re-creation of API infrastructure in the country to reduce the Indian pharma industry's dependence on China for ingredients. On the other hand, Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping and Chemicals & Fertilizers, said the government is working on bringing new policy to strengthen the Indian API market.

On efforts being made to contain the coronavirus spread in the country, Gowda said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had formed a group of ministers to monitor the situation. "Each and every person coming into the country is being tested at the airport itself. We have also prepared to quarantine people while government and private hospitals are also geared up for the task," he added.

The minister also announced that the Centre had given in-principle approval for an API park and a medical devices park in Gujarat. P D Vaghela, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers, said that apart from the two dedicated industrial parks being funded by Centre and state governments, a separate incentive scheme was being devised.

According to M K Das, principal secretary for industries & mines department, Government of Gujarat, while the medical devices park will come up in an area of about 250 acres, the API park will be set up on 1,000 acres. Moreover, excluding land, the estimated project cost for the two parks is around Rs 500 crore.

Mandaviya added that at a time when the world is in recession, the Indian pharma sector was growing at 10 per cent and medical devices at 20-25 per cent. Gowda said the Indian pharma industry was likely to reach $100 billion and medical devices, $50 billion by 2025.



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