CDSCO issues new Form 40 draft guidance for API importers

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Draft guidance Pharmacology Import Pharmaceutical drug

India’s CDSCO has issued draft guidance designed to help active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) importers streamline the submission and registration process.

The document, available here, provides advice on the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization’s (CDSCO) ‘Form 40’ registration form, which is used by firms wishing to bring APIs and finished drugs into the country.

Under the new proposal importers would be required to provide details of the overseas production sites, including audit reports, where the APIs, drugs and intermediates they bring into India are manufactured and tested.

The draft guidance also sets out the quality testing processes required for imported batches as well as the various legal obligations importers undertake and the CDSCO’s registration fees - $1,500 for each manufacturing site and $1,000 for each compound imported.

The organisation has invited stakeholders that will be affected by the new guidance, primarily local manufacturers, wholesalers and local distribution agents, to provide comments and feedback over the next 20 days.

The Indian regulator, which maintains a list of registered finished formulation and bulk drugs imports, has been trying to tighten up its oversight of pharmaceuticals brought into the country over the last few years.

This process began in 2009​ when the organisation revised its rules on APIs for trials and began asking drugmakers seeking to bring ‘appreciably large’ quantities of a test compound into India to provide justification for doing so.

India API imports

India is well established as an exporter of pharmaceuticals and ingredients to the global drug sector, with some $5bn of the $12bn revenue the API sector generated last year coming from international sales.

However, the country is also a major importer of drug ingredients with, according to trade and commerce counsellor Nagaraj Naidu, ​Indian firms importing some $ 3.3 billion worth of APIs from China alone in 2010.

The disparity is explained, to some extent, by the type of APIs imported by Indian firms, which include compounds like steroids and narcotics where there is a lack of manufacturing capacity in the country itself.

This, coupled with the increasing number of drugs being formulated in India for overseas markets, makes it likely that, for the medium term at least, the Indian import market will continue to grow.

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