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Indian commerce minister’s summit on pharma export crises

The well-organised Commerce Ministry is having a review to protect India’s pharmaceutical export market, according to The Hindu. Here’s the official reason for Anand Sharma summoning the group “to emphasise commitment to quality, safety and efficacy of Indian medicines, ways to promote ‘Brand India Pharma’ in important markets and the manner in which India can attain a leadership position in the world in exports.’’

There are probably four other reasons

  • The quality crisis engulfing the Indian generics industry with leading firms such as Ranbaxy and Wockhardt particularly hard hit by actions by foreign regulatory agencies
  • The loss of WHO pre-qualification (a hallmark of manufacturing good practice) by several of India’s leading vaccine companies (most have since re-gained it) and the serious doubts over whether India’s regulator would pass its own international review (it did)
  • The strenuous and well-financed efforts by Chinese industry and government to take some or all of India’s export markets in vaccines and in pharma
  • The knock-on effect on exporters of high-profile failures in India’s domestic tendering arrangements for medicines (TB has been highlighted in the Indian and foreign press) and vaccines (the Health Ministry’s  tendering for archaic DTP vaccines degenerated into farce when no manufacturer could supply them thus forcing government to switch belatedly to national use of the more modern pentavalent vacines which had already been adopted in over 170 countries –many of those 170 supplied from India by the country’s exporters)


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