WILL THE MIRAGE OF A SUPER-BOOM CYCLE TURN INTO AN OASIS FOR INDIAN PHARMA SECTOR? - The Daily Guardian
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WILL THE MIRAGE OF A SUPER-BOOM CYCLE TURN INTO AN OASIS FOR INDIAN PHARMA SECTOR?

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The Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be a global health crisis, whose cascading effect has already grappled the global economies. With multiple spread waves and new virus mutants, the hope for economic recovery seems to be imperceptible. The World Bank envisions a baseline forecast of 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020 which may plunge most countries into recession in 2020, with per capita income contracting in the largest fraction of countries globally since 1870. India alone lost Rs 32,000 crore ($4.5 billion) every day during the lockdown, slowing the economy at an estimated 8% by Fitch Ratings. Although all the sectors are seeing an impede in growth, the pharma industry has turned out to be the blue sky after the storm, with resilient capabilities and future potentials.

Now with the White House considering a temporary waiver of some Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules, India will be able to expand its vaccination exports and research capabilities to African markets without inviting any sanctions from WTO. Southern and western regions of Africa are the largest importers of Indian medicines. These include several generic drugs that cost only a fraction of those produced by Western companies.

The catastrophe has opened up the deep gaps in the interdependencies born out of globalization. The global supply chains have been disrupted and trade deals halted with zero global mobility. The crisis has upheld the urgency of self-sustaining economic war chest and has given a thrust to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat dream. It’s now clear that the world, including India, is so dependent on China for essential supplies of medicines. In fact, 50% of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) used in India are imported from China. This technically makes China control the prices and supply of these ingredients, which are used in generic drugs. Since generic drugs manufacturing compose 70% of the Indian pharma industry, this high concentration in supply chains has increased the unsystematic risks for the industry. However, this fact has proved to be a silver lining for the Indian pharma sector, which has established itself as a global leader over the last 50 years. During such unprecedented times, the world is looking towards India to provide an alternative for a supply viscous China and steer them through the pandemic.

India holds a fifth of all global manufacturing sites catering to the US market and is the only country with the largest number of Pharma plants that are US-FDA compliant. Moreover, the Indian API industry is ranked third largest in the world contributing 57% of APIs to prequalified list of the WHO. According to a McKinsey report, the driving factors for growing the domestic market in India are the accessibility and the affordability of drugs and quality healthcare facilities. The affordability of drugs will rise due to sustained growth in incomes and an increase in insurance coverage. The government has outlaid greater spending on healthcare and sponsored programs to break the bottleneck in the accessibility of standard facilities in Tier 2 & 3 cities.

Emulating China, India has approved 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under the automatic route for greenfield pharma and has introduced Production Linked Incentives of up to Rs 6,940 crore in 2020 to create global champions out of India who have the potential to grow in size and scale using cutting edge technology and thereby penetrate the global value chains. Moreover, a weighted deduction of 200 percent is available for scientific research on in-house R&D expenditure. Various state governments have recently come up with their healthcare policies to promote huge Bulk Drug Parks with a total financial implication of Rs 3,000 crore for 2020-2021. Uttar Pradesh, for instance, is emerging as a top industrial destination with investment-friendly reformative policy approach. Through these policies, the state puts the high impetus on creating manufacturing giants to compete for global standards in the international market.

These conducive measures are already proving buoyant for the sector. Substantiating the fact is the multi-growth cycle experienced by the top players in the industry. For instance, Divis Lab, which is a pure-play generic active pharmaceutical ingredients maker reported record sales in Q1FY21 with net profits rising 80.61 percent to Rs 492.06 crore. Large-cap and mid-cap companies like Aurobindo Pharma, Sun Pharma, Aarti drugs, Dr Reddy’s and Lupin, which have a huge API business stand to potentially benefit from this shift. Such anticipated growth has already priced in their share prices, which have skyrocketed as much as 80% in the last year. Companies like Macleods Pharmaceuticals Limited, Hetero Drugs, Dasami Labs Pvt Ltd are already exploring API manufacturing in India on account of efforts to increase the in-house manufacturing of intermediates and additional revenues from the new capex.

The tectonic shift induced by the pandemic, the change in the stance of the government towards the pharma industry along with the confidence of MNCs in the country has generated a plethora of opportunities in multiple sub-sectors, namely, API & generic drug manufacturing, vaccine development and production, clinical trial market and bioinformatics. India currently exports vaccines to about 150 countries and meets around 50-70% of the world’s vaccine demand. An estimated two out of every three immunised persons in the world have received a vaccine manufactured in India. Moreover, the best benefit of conducting clinical trials in India is the potential for cost savings. Clinical trials account for over 40% of the costs of developing a new drug. In India, the cost of conducting a trial here is lower by 50% than in Western Countries. The expertise gained in manufacturing generics through reverse engineering has helped the Indian pharma companies to streamline the process for getting manufacturing up and running. Costs here are only two-fifths of those involved in setting up and running a new manufacturing facility in the West due to significantly lower margins, given the low development and labour costs. To facilitate the storage, management, retrieval and analysis of large pools of data, a new subsector of the IT sector has emerged—bioinformatics. India’s existing knowledge capital in IT provides a natural base for the development of bioinformatics research and operations.

Although the total market size of the Indian pharma industry is expected to reach $130 billion by 2030, the Indian pharma industry is still valued as the 14th largest with its exports contributing to only 3.5 of the total pharmaceutical exports globally (by value). Indian pharma industry did well in formulations and indigenous medicines sector but with the gradual liberalisation and price ceiling policies (DPCO, 2013), the pharma market was flooded with cheap imports from China. The strict price control policies of the government neither allow the manufacturers to invest in R&D of new drug formulations nor does it ensure universal accessibility. Moreover, India spends only $120 per capita per year on infrastructure, which is one-tenth of what the top six countries, including China and Japan, invest on average $1,200.

India needs to work on the healthcare infra, medical training, more accommodative pricing policy, fast project clearances, improve quality standards of medical production and interlinked logistic systems to reach the pinnacle as the epitome of the medical hub. On apriority basis, ease of doing business needs to be improved for reducing the number of days of to a start a business, which is a major hindrance in the inception process. The Drug Price Control Order, 2013 needs to be revised to relax the norms of price ceilings to incentivise the drug companies to have indigenous API productions, instead of cheap imports. The logistics chain needs to be decentralised with local delivery centres and data driven systems for efficient supply-chains.

The pandemic has proved to be an inflection point in the growth of the Indian pharma industry, where for the first time, India is following the East-first policy to embrace self-reliance. However, to make the Aatmanirbhar discourse clear proactive interventions are need to ensure amicable international trade deals through indigenous supply chain and well-integrated logistics. With an anticipated Free Trade Agreement with US, everything boils down to the recourse policies which India will adopt to harmonise its efforts against the economic downturn.

Rajesh Mehta is a leading consultant & columnist working on Market Entry, Innovation & Public Policy. Uddeshya Goel is a financial researcher working closely with Rajesh Mehta on multiple projects. Views expressed are personal.

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EROS HOTEL CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF HOSPITALITY

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The date 6th December 2021 marks the silver jubilee year for Eros Hotel New Delhi Nehru Place. The hotel began its journey in the year 1996 with the vision of delivering the finest Indian hospitality experiences to the guests. Today, Eros Hotel stands tall as an iconic stand-alone 5-star deluxe property offering contemporary design and comfort paired with old-world hospitality charm.

Eros Hotel.

“Anniversary is a great occasion of recollecting and cherishing memories. This one is more special, as today we celebrate our hotel’s 25th anniversary” said MD of the company, Satish Sood.

“Going back in history, I would like to bring forth the vision and foresight of Late Mr. J. R. Sood. The organisation started with millions of dreams, hope and immense enthusiasm and for me, it’s a matter of great pride to see our company growing, embracing good value system and achieving milestones as we thought of,” he added.

“Over these years, CSR campaigns, sustainability initiatives, celebrating key occasions with team members and families, delivering wow experiences to our patrons through exceptional customer services, have created great memories for all of us and have contributed to hotel’s glorious journey,” he added.

Davinder Juj, General Manager of the hotel, said “We are delighted to carve a host of activities on 25th anniversary, which will be offered to make our guests and team members feel special. This is to express our heartfelt gratitude for their continued patronage and loyalty and for our teams to offer the best of the services”.

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Odisha tourism conducts 12th International Sand Art Festival

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The 12th edition of five days International Sand Art Festival that started on December 1 is underway at Chandrabhaga beach in Konark, Odisha.

Every year, the tourism of Odisha conducts the Chandrabhaga International Sand art festival for the sand artists to show their art and talent to the world to see. Here the immense beach is a canvas and an artists’ deft is the palette. Artists from all over the world participate in the festival, but due to Covid-19, strict protocols were followed.

Sudarsan Patnaik, organiser of the festival told ANI that due to Covid-19 fear, this year international artists couldn’t participate but a total of 100 artisans from Odisha and 12 other Indian states including Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and more have participated with full enthusiasm.

He also informed that different themes were provided to the artists every day and on December 3, Friday, the theme assigned to them was ‘eco-tourism and environment’.

Gauri, a sand artist from Odisha who is participating in the festival for the second time in her life said, “It’s a very good topic. We have to understand nature is very important and we have to save it too.”

She also told that this is her second time participating in this event, after ten years. “I am glad to see how the event has developed in the meantime. It is only stated to organise such festival where all sand artists get exposure and we are able to show our art.”

The International Sand Art Festival was started in 2015 on the Chandrabhaga beach, a short distance from Konark. It was a part of the Konark Dance Festival that is organized during the same time. Every year, the theme for the Artists hover around the burgeoning issues of the Earth.

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RAHUL MITTRA BECOMES ARUNACHAL’S BRAND ADVISOR, SANJAY DUTT IS BRAND AMBASSADOR

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On the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations which mark the 50th year of the naming of the state—the BJP led Arunachal Pradesh Government has appointed former journalist, award-winning filmmaker and branding expert Rahul Mittra as Brand Advisor, and Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt as Brand Ambassador.

This announcement was made by Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Assembly Speaker Pasang Sona Dorjee at a packed function in the presence of both Sanjay Dutt and Rahul Mittra. On Monday afternoon both these personalities arrived from Mumbai by chartered flight to Dibrugarh and then by helicopter to the picturesque valley of Mechuka. On the arrival of Sanjay and Rahul, hundreds of residents made a beeline to get a glimpse of the celebrities.

A big media campaign conceptualised and executed by Rahul Mittra Films and shot by top ad-filmmaker and drummer Pentagram Shiraz Bhattacharya was kickstarted on this occasion, featuring Sanjay Dutt as a youth icon, nature lover, de-addiction proponent and an ever-evolving individual catering to the niche target audience for Arunachal tourism. Filming is currently taking place on a large scale across the state covering Ziro village, Pakke valley, Dambuk, Namsai, Parshuram Kund, Pasighat, Mechuka and Tawang. The campaign will be unveiled on the occasion of the month-long celebrations commencing on January 20 next year at Ziro where Arunachal Pradesh first got its name and Union Territory status in 1972.

The young CM Pema Khandu thanked both Sanjay and Rahul for their support and spelled out the various activities being undertaken by the state government for the 50-year celebrations. Sanjay Dutt urged the youth to stay away from drugs and get high on life while Rahul Mittra promised to put Arunachal on the world map in terms of visibility through this campaign, amidst a thundering response from the audience.

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CROWN GROUP REAFFIRMS ITS COMMITMENT TOWARDS ‘ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT’ FOR INDIAN NAVY

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On the glorious occasion of Navy Week 2021, the Crown Group, which is a technology provider and a strategic partner to India’s defence sector, reaffirms its commitment to provide its best contribution and impetus to the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ mission for the nation as envisaged by Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi by augmenting indigenous product and services support to the Indian Navy.

The group is professionally managed, having skilled technical and operational experts, with the Group President, Vice Adm Paras Nath (Retd.), AVSM, VSM, based at the Delhi Headquarters. The Crown Group has appointed Commodore Rakesh Anand as the Head of Marine Division to spearhead and boost the division. Commodore Anand is a retd Indian Navy veteran who was also the Chairman & Managing Director of Mazagon Dock Ltd. prior to joining the Crown Group, and was responsible for the launching of three Scorpene submarines and three Destroyers/Stealth Frigates. He also delivered two Submarines, Kalvari and Khanderi to the Indian Navy besides undertaking major modernisation of the shipyard. Commodore Anand will be heading the marine companies of the group – ‘Dynatron Services Private Limited’ and ‘OSK India Pvt. Ltd’.

Speaking on the occasion, Commodore Anand said, “Keeping with the GoI vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, the Marine division of Crown Group has enhanced its maintenance facilities in Mumbai. The Marine division is also working towards establishing the capability for manufacturing propulsion shafting and Magazine Fire Fighting System (MFFS) for warships and submarines in collaboration with the foreign OEMs.

We can proudly claim that Dynatron Services & OSK India are one of the only organised and fully equipped players in India that are present across all the coastal cities catering to the MRO and servicing of Indian naval ships. We are also a unique Group that provides both Marine Engineering and Weapons system MRO support to Indian Navy & Coast Guard.”

Group President said, “Our Karwar facility has the biggest workshop near India’s main naval base spread over 5 acres with facilities for repair and overhauling of all aero-marine components, manufacture of spares along with Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics workshop. The workshop is supporting MRO activities for the aircraft carrier, warships and the submarines at the Naval base.”

Dynatron and OSK India, have been dedicating themselves for taking on MRO activities. OSK India has recently repaired critical weapon equipment modules for the Indian Navy. Dynatron has a long-term partnership with many foreign OEMs including JSC Sevmash. Dynatron also has sole authorisation for repairs and maintenance of Gearboxes & thrusters from ZF Marine (Germany) and an exclusive partnership with Kubota engines Japan coupled with Mase Generators, Italy.

On the occasion of Navy Day, Crown Group rededicates itself towards the success of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Navy Day is observed on December 4 every year, since it was on the day in 1971 that missile boats of the Indian Navy launched a daring attack on the Karachi harbour, paralysing Pakistan’s entire coastal defence apparatus.The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Indo-Pak War – the historic victory of India’s armed forces in which the Indian Army made the Pakistani’s surrender.

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VIRGIL ABLOH: AN INDELIBLE LEGACY

As the founder of the iconic brand Off-White and the artistic director for Menswear, Louis Vuitton, Abloh, a first-generation Ghanaian American, was a pioneer in the global fashion scenario— his indomitable influence as a creative prodigy transcended the boundaries of clothes.

NAMRATA KUMAR

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The terrain of fashion today credits a majority of its aesthetic sensibility to the boundless creativity of Virgil Abloh. The designer, who died from cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, at the age of 41 on November 28 in Chicago, was called the fashion visionary, but there was no denying that his prodigious work shaped the present. As the founder of the cult brand Off-White and the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear division, Abloh, a first-generation Ghanaian American, was a pioneer in the global fashion scenario—his influence transcended the boundaries of only clothes.

Abloh’s creative genius spread across myriad mediums and defied conformity. His mother was a seamstress which influenced him to sew his own clothes as a teenager before he set forth to pursue fashion. He also studied civil engineering and obtained a degree in Architecture.

Off-white, Abloh’s iconic streetwear brand, brought the excitement of a much-hyped collaboration to the world of high fashion and luxury. With Off-White, he collaborated with many premium brands and companies, including Rimowa, Mercedes Benz, the NBA, Levi’s, Moncler, Jimmy Choo, Kith, Timberland and Byredo. His most notable collaborative relationship, however, may have been with Nike, with which he did multiple collections, one of which netted him the “Shoe of the Year” award at the 2017 Footwear News Achievement Awards. With Nike, he also designed competition outfits for Serena Williams. Abloh’s talents were also in high demand by many of his celebrity friends, who commissioned bespoke creations running the gamut from Hailey Bieber’s Off-White wedding dress and veil that read “Till death do us part” in Abloh’s signature irony quotes to Drake’s personal plane that he had Abloh customise with an ethereal blue sky and cloud pattern. Although Abloh’s body of work was often dictated by his talent to capture the essence of an era, his gift lies with his expensive curiosity and unflinching desire to create.

The Louis Vuitton Miami show was a visual tribute (and an emotional one at that) to Virgil Abloh, as friends, collaborators and fans paid homage to him under fireworks and a drone light show. The Spring/Summer 2022 Men’s show marked Abloh’s historical last as the celebrated Creative Director for Menswear.

The front row included longtime supporter Kanye West, who sat next to Kim Kardashian and their daughter North. Other front-row attendees were Rihanna and ASAP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Joe Jonas, Ricky Martin, Venus Williams, Bella Hadid, 21 Savage and Joan Smalls.

Just before 7 PM, as the mood shifted from somber to party mode, a dazzling light show filled the sky. It began as a paper plane (a predominant icon in Abloh’s collections), before fluctuating into avatars of the Louis Vuitton monogram, a palm tree and the initials “L.V.,” which turned into “V.A.” For the finale, the drones spelled “Virgil was here” (goosebump-inducing); within moments, these mesmerising visuals of tributes went viral on social media.

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MISSION TANDRUST PUNJAB TO KICK OFF RESEARCH PROJECTS WORTH RS 7 CR

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Mission Tandrust Punjab, with a zeal to start research and development in various fields, has now planned a 360-degree chart for different research projects comprising clean air, clean water, healthy soil, waste management, green Punjab, safe food, road safety, khelo Punjab, nutrition, preventive health.

These all are the sub-missions that are spearheaded by a lead department supported with different line departments. “The mission has undertaken various activities since it was revamped and launched by the Punjab government in June 2021, under the administrative control of the Department of Science, Technology, and Environment,” IFS Saurabh Gupta, CEO Mission Tandrust Punjab, told The Daily Guardian.

To achieve the objectives of the mission, the first meeting of the Steering Committee headed by Chief Secretary Punjab was held 2nd December 2021 in which Dilip Kumar, Principal Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Saurabh Gupta, CEO of the Mission made a presentation in which the innovative research projects for about Rupees seven crores were discussed and approved. Reiterating the importance of the mission, the Chief Secretary appreciated these research projects developed by the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change by involving prestigious institutions like IIT Ropar, AIIMS, Punjab Agriculture University, Punjab Biotechnology incubator, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology. The Chief Secretary said that these interventions shall help in ensuring good health of the people through the provision of safe food, clean water, etc.

An awareness project for the Mission was also approved to be implemented in the Pushpa Gujral Science City, Kapurthala.

The Chief Secretary suggested that more such innovative research projects are required under this mission for which the State Govt. shall provide adequate funds. The projects approved have been time-lined for 18 months added Gupta.

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