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Pharma exports soar 15% in first half of FY21

IBEF:  November 04, 2020

The country's pharmaceuticals exports are on course to cross US$ 23 billion for the first time this fiscal year after rising 14.85% yoy at US$ 11.78 billion in the first half, a senior ministry of commerce official said.

Mr. Ravi Uday Bhaskar, DG, Pharmexcil, said, "India is likely to sustain similar growth in pharmaceutical exports in the second half of the fiscal period, following the indications of demand for our pharmaceutical products worldwide, as well as close the fiscal with exports of at least US$ 23 billion and may even touch US$ 24 billion".

The growth is driven by drug formulations and biologicals, whose shipment grew a record 21.85% year-on-year to US$ 8.99 billion in the April-September period as countries around the world turned to India to meet a rise in demand in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic that in many parts of the world triggered lockdowns and production disruptions.

For the first time in the history of Indian pharmaceutical exports, the first half accounted for 76.3% of overall pharmaceutical exports, up from around 72% a year earlier.

Last fiscal year, India exported US$ 20.58 billion worth of pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Uday Bhaskar told ET, "We expected India to record US$ 22 billion in pharmaceutical exports last fiscal year, but we fell short and ended up at US$ 20.58 billion , due to logistics disruptions and lockdowns in different importing countries in the Covid-19 pandemic in the last fiscal quarter ended March 2020".

Herbal products also saw a record increase of 20.77% year on year in the first half, in addition to formulations and biologicals, at US$ 168.87 million. Less than 1.5% of Indian pharma exports are accounted for by herbal products.

In the first half, exports of bulk medicines, medication intermediates, Ayush, vaccines and surgical products decreased slightly, due to the transition in countries around the world 's immediate healthcare focus to managing the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the first half, bulk drugs and drug intermediates reported a decline of 4.5% to US$ 1.87 billion, down from US$ 1.96 billion last fiscal year. "The decrease in bulk drugs and intermediate drug exports can also be seen as a positive development as most Indian companies have used them to manufacture high-margin and high-value formulations for value addition, contributing to Indian pharmaceutical exports' overall growth," said Mr. Uday Bhaskar.

Vaccine exports dropped 7.27% to US$ 359.05 million in the first half, while surgical exports and Ayush goods remained nearly unchanged, falling 0.11% to US$ 317.07 million and 0.65% to US$ 72.1 million, respectively.

India exports vaccines mainly to fulfil the various countries' scheduled immunisation programmes for infants, and with the shift in the healthcare priority of these countries to counter the Covid-19 pandemic, India has seen a decrease in exports of vaccines, said Mr. Uday Bhaskar.

However, the country "will see a substantial increase in the export of this fiscal vaccine if the launch of the Covid-19 vaccine is successful before the fiscal end," he added.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.