Indian Pharma Industry and COVID Vaccine

by Vinod Narayanan

We all are expecting to receive a vaccine shortly so that we can shred the new normal and return to our normal lives. Pfizer the US pharma Inc. with German Partnership claims they developed a vaccine likewise Oxford’s AstraZeneca, Russia’s Sputnik V all are termed to be successful. But questions like how it is possible to reach masses around the globe, is it going to be centralised manufacturing headed by WHO or Nations should produce the same with the possibility of export availability for those countries which cannot manufacture enough. India or the “pharmacy of the world” could be the answer to such a dilemma.

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the share of Indian pharma companies in the domestic market was less than 5%. Now in 2020 Indian pharma Inc. holds 15% of the international market, a remarkable leap. Sixty percent of the vaccines available around the globe are from India and contribute to more than 20% by value to the global generic medicine market.

Indian pharmaceutical industry supplies over 60% of global demand for various vaccines. India is the second-largest contributor to the global biotech and pharmaceutical workforce. Between 2008-19, the S&P BSE Healthcare Index has grown at 16.72%. India’s domestic pharmaceutical market turnover reached INR 1.4 lakh crore in 2019, growing 9.8% from INR 129,015 crore in 2018. Indian pharma export reached US$ 20.70 billion in FY20. India’s pharmaceutical export stood at US$ 20.70 billion in FY20. As per Economic Survey 2019-20, Government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) increased to 1.6% in FY20 from 1.2% in FY15 for health.

With the production capacity and viable track record India can produce the potential cure at a low affordable price. In a nutshell, without India, the production and distribution of Corona vaccine in large quantities are impractical to the world. During the time of the outbreak, India was a mere exporter of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits after 2 months India had attained the position of the second-largest producer of PPE Kits in the World. According to statistics, Indian Production exceeded Five lakh kits in a day which is considered insurmountable even to developed Nations.

“India was never into manufacturing medical textiles—including PPE kits, it was completely owned by China. This has brought us a whole new line of business to us that can be grown, sustained, and exported. World over, we get a call saying that we don’t want to buy out of China if you can supply us. “said Roshan Baid (M.D of Paragon Apparels. a major producer of PPE Kits in the industry) in ‘BOOM Financial report’.

The Indian government has made 52 laboratories functional for testing samples, while 57 labs have been designated for helping in sample collection for COVID-19 to enhance capacity for diagnosis and detection of the disease, all within the minimum available time.

India developed vaccines are also on its way, if our research could reap fruitful results while considering cost-effectiveness, having proficient production feasibility, the Nation will be able to serve the vaccine to areas such as South East Asia, African Nations, South American Countries, and those geopolitical areas which are underprivileged in Industry know-hows. Even the USA had earlier sought stock of ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ (a medicine which is yet to prove scientifically for treating COVID-19).

As we see in the present situation vaccines, are not only an election-winning strategy but also a diplomatic tool available for Nations.

About the Author:

Vinod Narayanan is a Civil Service Aspirant, a former IT Professional, and a law graduate who conducts freelance research in the subject ‘National Movements’. He has received Gujarat Sahithya Academy award ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ for his works.

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