INDIA'S COOPERATION WITH NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|December 2020
In 1969, the Indian pharmaceutical industry had a 5 percent share of the market and the global pharma industry had a 95 percent share.
SURBHI ARORA*

By 2020, it is the reverse, with Indian pharma having an almost 85 percent share and global, 15 percent. Over these years the Indian pharmaceutical industry has build-up its position both in terms of meeting the domestic needs as well as building a leading position in the landscape of the global pharmaceutical.

Indian drug companies are major manufacturers of vaccines distributed worldwide, supplying more than 60% of vaccines to the developing world. The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third-largest in terms of volume and the 13th largest in terms of value. India has a competitive advantage in this industry due to the availability of huge raw material base and skilled workforce. Indian pharmaceutical industry is expected to export medicines and other goods worth over $25 billion in the current financial year; up from $20.5 billion in 2019-20.

During the first six months of the current financial year, Indian pharmaceutical exports were $11.38 billion, nearly 15 percent more than that in the same period last year. Indian pharma export is a highly regulated market and thus, this increase is considered quite significant. India is the largest supplier of generic medicines globally in the range of 20–22% of the global export volume. India has exported US$ 3.89 billion of Bulk Drugs & Drug intermediates in FY20.

In this pandemic, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is doing quite well for two main reasons i.e. firstly, in the generic medicine front, India is capable of producing quality medicines at affordable prices, and secondly, on the COVID-19 vaccine front, most of the Indian vaccine companies are working closely with academic institutions and industry outside India. A major advantage for India is that it can produce COVID-19 vaccines in large volumes. India also has one of the lowest manufacturing costs in the world. It is lower than that of USA and almost half of Europe.

Another aspect worth noting is that at the beginning of COVID-19, Indian was not capable of producing N95 masks, PPE kits and other devices required for fighting the pandemic. However, India rose to the occasion and now the Indian industry is capable of manufacturing all these in adequate quantities. Similar is the case with syringes for COVID-19 vaccines. Both the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech India Ltd. are two-dose vaccines. If the entire population of India is to be covered we have to produce 260 crore syringes.

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