The plan was outlined at an event hosted by Assocham in Delhi last night. Department of Pharmaceuticals secretary V.K. Subburaj told delegates “more than 80 per cent of bulk drugs are coming from one source - China so we want to reduce this dependency, basically we need to create capacities."
A formal action plan will be announced at the end of April, however, according to Subburaj boosting Indian active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), or bulk drug, capacity will involve investment in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
One detail to emerge is the Government's desire to "revive" state owned public sector manufacturer Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL).
The firm, which was set up in 1954 in Pimpri, Maharashtra by the Indian Government, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Unicef has been struggling financially since the late 1990s. Despite some signs of recovery in 2009, the problems have continued.
Last month, company officials said they were looking at a "modified rehabilitation scheme" in response to reports of imminent job cuts.
But saving HAL is a big part of India's plan to up bulk drug capacity according to Subburaj, who told attendees that: "Today Hindustan Antibiotics is almost at the end stage and we are trying to rehabilitate that organisation."
He also said that increasing capacity will involve increasing India's pharmaceutical sector workforce, explaining that: “We are trying to institute a study very shortly to assess the manpower requirement in the pharmaceuticals sector for next 20-25 years.”
Another focus will be to look at regulations that govern India's drug industry, particularly those relating to exports.
Subburaj said: "India has just five per cent growth rate in exports of drugs to other countries as against previous level of about 18-20 per cent due to procedural delay in product approvals and other reasons which is a worrying factor."