After becoming the pharmacy of the world, India has emerged as a medical tourism hub on the global healthcare map, said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Addressing the 35th convocation ceremony of Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University on Saturday, she said India’s medical tourism industry is estimated at $9 billion, which makes India the 10th biggest global medical tourism hub.

“It is good medical institutions that train and mould good doctors. About 2 million patients from around 76 countries visit India for medical, wellness and IVF treatments, generating $6 billion for the industry. This is expected to increase to $13 billion by 2026” she added.

Sitharaman said India is already recognised as the pharmacy of the world as the Indian pharma industry is sought after by most countries mainly due to its expertise in producing medicines in accordance with global standards and for its cost competitiveness.

Exponential growth

Now, India exports drugs and pharmaceuticals worth $2 billion. The Indian pharma industry witnessed an exponential growth of 103 per cent during 2014-2022 period. The industry’s size has grown from $11.6 billion to $24.6 billion.

“India supplies about 50 per cent of the requirement of all of Africa’s generic medicines. About 40 per cent of America’s generic medicine requirement is met by the Indian pharma sector. Also, about 25 per cent of all medicines in the UK is supplied by our industry,” she stated.

Supplying generic drugs

Sitharaman said India supplied a significant portion of the world’s generic drugs. About 60 per cent of all global vaccine demand is met by India. Also, 70 per cent of WHO’s (World Health Organisation) vaccine requirement is supplied by India for the organisation’s essential immunization programmes across the world.

Referring to the recent spike in Covid infections in some parts of the world, she stated that State and Central Institutions worked together to fight against the Omicron variant of Covid.

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and State Health Minister Ma Subramanian, among others, were present at the convocation ceremony.