Domestic drugmakers need to work towards maintaining the legacy of being “pharmacy to the world”, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, addressing a gathering of representatives from the pharmaceutical industry.

Citing the recent trend, where multilateral agencies were supporting an financing manufacturing facilities in different countries and continents, he urged Indian drugmakers to also establish production facilities in these regions, and support them from India. The present system of exporting to the world could see a negative impact, by the emerging trend of localisation, he said at the concluding session of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance’s Quality Summit (Mumbai).

Against the backdrop of quality-linked concerns being raised from different countries, he said, the government had “zero-tolerance” to those manufacturers who were not adhering to the good manufacturing norms. As for small and medium size enterprises who needed “hand-holding” to upgrade their systems, he said, the authorities would support them.

He also suggested that MSMEs set up a self-regulatory body. No further details were however available on this suggestion.

The Minister reiterated, the Centre had taken action against errant companies, show cause notices had been issued and sites had been shut down as well. He also added, that the Centre and States were undertaking joint inspections of facilities in the country. Reiterating the Centre’s stance on the reports from Gambia, of deaths possibly linked to cough-syrups made in India, he said, they had investigated the issue in India and not found a problem. This had been raised with the World Health Organization, he added.

Earlier in the day, the heads of drugmakers Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Lupin, Cipla, Sun Pharma and Zydus Cadila, spoke at the Summit, outlining the challenges for the future, including quality and supply chain issues, environment and sustainability concerns and the need for industry-ready talent.