Know why is India called the pharmacy of the world?

Publish Date: 24 Sep, 2021 |

How India became the 'Pharmacy of the world':

India has a long and distinguished history in innovating and distributing life-saving drugs at the most affordable prices across the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, India not only innovated but increasingly distributed critical life-saving drugs to many parts of the world. India is the world's largest supplier of low-cost generics, vaccines, and affordable drugs, one of the largest producers of drugs both in terms of value and quantity.

India supplies affordable and low-cost generic drugs to millions of people worldwide and follows the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

Indian history in Pharmaceutical Sector:

The role played by Indian pharmaceutical companies in the poor countries of Africa is one of India's global success stories in the pharmaceutical sector. In 2001, Africa was facing a major health crisis. There were 22.5 million HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa. Patent drugs granted by Western pharmaceutical companies cost $10,000 per patient per year, which were far beyond the reach of the average patient.

In 2003, the Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla started providing the same drug at a cost of $400 per year per patient. Thanks to Cipla, the number of HIV-positive people in Africa decreased by 18 times from 2003 to 2008. After Cipla, many other Indian generic drug companies saved thousands of lives in Africa. It must be noted that there is no restriction on the manufacturing of generic drugs in India.

According to an estimate, Africa spends about $2 billion on the treatment of millions of AIDS patients every year. According to UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, "If India had not been there, we could not have treated this merger for $2 billion." While an estimate stated that the cost of this treatment would have been close to $ 150 billion.

Apart from this, Indian companies are also involved in supplies of malaria and TB in Africa. It is also the largest supplier of drugs in the US and provides cheaper medicines than the US and European countries. India exported pharmaceutical products worth about $4 billion to Africa in 2015. The African generic drug market is growing at a rate of 25-30% per year and is largely dependent on imports.

Not only this, by the year 2012, Indian medicines started reaching 133 countries of the world, which were cheaper than other countries and there was no compromise with the quality. Hence India started getting referred to as the "Pharmacy of the world".

According to D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, "The potential of India's pharma sector is immense. The growing population, prosperity, and health awareness provide a very good incentive to invest further in this sector. If these opportunities are capitalized properly, the Indian pharma industry market could reach over $100 billion by 2025, while the medical devices industry could reach $50 billion by 2025."

Interesting facts about the pharmaceutical sector in India:

  1.  India ranks 14th globally in terms of value and third in terms of volume. The reason behind this is the increasing demand for Indian pharmaceutical products in the international markets and their considerable low cost.

  2. India's cost of production is about 33% lower than that of the US and labor cost is 50-55% lower than that of western countries.

  3.  India is the second-largest supplier of pharma and biotech professionals in the world after China. Other major countries include the US and Brazil.

  4. It will be surprising to know that every other vaccine used in the world is made in India.

  5. For the last 50 years, Indian pharmaceutical has not only been successful in meeting its domestic needs but has also been successful in securing a leading position in the global pharmaceutical landscape. In 1969, pharmaceuticals accounted for 5% of the Indian market and 95% of the global market. On the other hand, in the year 2020, pharmaceuticals had an 85% share in the Indian market and 15% in the global market.

  6. The Indian pharmaceutical industry aspires to become the world's largest supplier by 2030 and aims to grow revenue at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11-12% from the current revenue of $41 billion to $120 -130 billion by 2030.


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