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Thursday, Jun 05, 2003

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Pharma industry wants expert panel to study export potential

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`Karnataka has been recommended by the World Health Organisation as one of the best centres of manufacturing bulk drugs and formulations with a few multinational companies themselves operating their units.'


THE drug and pharmaceuticals industry has asked the State Government to set up an experts committee consisting of professionals, representatives from the industry, apart from Government nominees, to study the potential of the exports and adopt a suitable strategy to give a thrust to this industry.

The suggestion has been made by the Karnataka Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers' Association (KDPMA) to identify the strength and weaknesses so that a clear strategy could be adopted not only for consolidating its present strong position in the export market but to improve its hold in the international market.

The current turnover of the industry was estimated at Rs 2,000 crore and it expects to record a 20 per cent growth to maintain its enviable position of being one of the leading sources in the country for the multinational companies. Karnataka exports Rs 850 crore worth of drugs and pharmaceuticals.

Karnataka has been recommended by the World Health Organisation as one of the best centres of manufacturing bulk drugs and formulations with a few multinational companies themselves operating their units, said Dr K.N. Subaswami, President of KDPMA and Director Resonance Laboratories Pvt Ltd.

Echoing a similar view, Mr Jatish N. Sheth, Secretary of the Association, and Mr C.P. Bothra, Director, Medreich Sterilabs Ltd, felt that the recent reports of the drug scam, involving the State Drug Controllerate, had an adverse impact on the reputation of Karnataka being an important source for leading international companies.

While the drug and pharma companies were bearing the brunt of the adverse publicity following an enquiry by the Lok Adalat, KDPMA office bearers said the impact of the publicity to the scam confused the market about the difference between the medical stores dispensing drugs bought from suppliers from outside the State and the manufacturers in the State.

There are more than 70 units in the State, who are members of the KDPMA.

They export more than 70 per cent of their output to multinational companies. Thus, any adverse publicity could affect the long term interest of the industry, Dr Subaswami said.

The KDPMA was in favour of the Government bringing out a `white paper' to highlight that the industry following stringent quality and safety standards had nothing to do with the spurious drugs supplies in the market.

The KDPMA office bearers also demanded that the Government should take steps to implement the recommendations of the Mashelkar Committee, which favoured special courts for trying cases of illegal drugs supplies and rewards for informers who bring it to the notice of the authorities persons indulging in the distribution of spurious drugs.

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