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In Bid to Cut Dependence on China, India Launches Dedicated Hubs for Bulk Drugs, Medical Devices

© REUTERS / Adnan Abidi/File PhotoA man walks inside a conference room used for meetings between military commanders of China and India, at the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009
A man walks inside a conference room used for meetings between military commanders of China and India, at the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009 - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik): India has the third largest pharmaceutical industry in the world by volume and is the largest provider of generic drugs. But it depends on China for most of its requirement of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), to the tune of US $2.4 billion, the supply of which was disrupted during the worldwide lockdown due to COVID-19.

India on Monday launched three dedicated hubs for the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients and four hubs for medical devices in the country to cut its dependence on imports.

The scheme was launched by federal Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Sadananda Gowda in New Delhi. The federal government would give incentives to states to the tune of US $134 million for bulk drug parks and US $13.3 million for medical device parks.

“Supported by both Central (Federal) and State Governments, these parks will be based on plug and play model with prior regulatory approvals, state of art infrastructure, excellent connectivity, affordable land, competitive utility charges, and strong R & D ecosystem and so on”, said Gowda.

​The minister said that the hubs would be functional by 2024 and ramp up the production of bulk drugs and medical devices in order to eliminate any risks to health security. 

“The objective is to make India self-reliant in production of 53 critical active pharmaceutical ingredients or Key Starting Materials (KSMs), and in production of medical devices, for which India is crucially dependent upon imports”, said India’s federal Chemical and Fertilisers Minister Sadananda Gowda.

The latest move by New Delhi is designed to overcome any disruptions in supply in the future, as was the case during the outbreak of COVID-19, when Indian drug manufactures faced disruptions in the supply from China. Secondly, the plan is also in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship "Self-reliant India" mission.

India has a 20 percent share of generic medicines in the global supply by volume, while its share of vaccines is 62 percent of global demand. It is the country with the largest number of US FDA-compliant drug manufacturers outside the United States.

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