India has moved on to become a major exporter of bulk drugs and medical devices, Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday.

According to him, India worked on schemes and plans to de-risk its supply chain from global vagaries and dependence on a single country in terms of obtaining APIs for bulk medicine making.

Previous governments should have provided protection to the local pharma industry against dumping of medicines by global majors and also control of APIs; but this was not the case, he said.

“Today India is self-sustainable in critical API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) making, and our medical exports are expected to reach ₹75,000 crore in the coming days,” he said during the inauguration of 39 Greenfield projects under the PLI scheme for bulk drugs and medical devices.

The country has 12,000-odd pharma companies, and bulk drugs continue to be the key requirement for the sector.

India continues to import around 70 per cent of medical devices. And the PLI scheme – under which 39 medical device-making plants are being inaugurated or are currently under commissioning – is expected to further bring down the import bill.

“It is noteworthy that today India has not only reduced its dependence on medicines, API and medical devices, the country is also emerging as a major exporter of these products, thanks to the success of the PLI scheme,” he said adding that soon Penicillin G will be made in India. Penicillin production in India stopped some three decades back.

PLI Scheme

Some 27 Greenfield Bulk Drug Park projects and 13 Greenfield Manufacturing Plants for Medical Devices under the PLI Scheme were inaugurated.

The PLI scheme envisages manufacturing of 41 Bulk Drugs with a total outlay of ₹6,940 crore during the tenure of the scheme from 2020-21 to 2029-30.

Some 26 applicants for manufacturing of medical devices have been approved for 138 products under the PLI scheme with total financial outlay of ₹3,420 crore between 2020-21 and 2027-28.

According to Mandaviya, PLI 1.0 with a financial outlay of ₹54,000 crore saw a “good response from the industry” and this led to the introduction of PLI 2.0 at a financial outlay of another ₹15,000 crore. The PLI 2.0 will further consolidate India’s position as an exporter.

The PLI scheme is a result of wide-ranging deliberations on India’s dependence on critical resources, risk to supply chain bottlenecks.

“(The) PLI schemes are a success story for us,” he said adding that the focus would continue to be on “long-term policies” that aid investment by the industry.