With the completion of the disengagement between the Chinese and Indian armies on the north and south banks of Bangong Lake, India’s domestic anti-China sentiment has eased, but out of concern for the “security of supply” of APIs (also known as active pharmaceutical ingredients), Indian pharmaceutical companies are still actively seeking to get rid of dependence on imports of API from China and plan to seek a more stable domestic supply arrangement. According to Reuters, executives from Indian pharmaceutical companies such as Cadila, Cipla, Sun Pharmaceuticals, and Biocon Biologics announced on the 23rd that they will work to reduce their dependence on Chinese imports in the future, given that API imports from China had been disrupted by the novel corona pneumonia outbreak.
Given the anti-Chinese sentiment in India, most companies are trying to decouple their ties to the Chinese supply chain in an effort to reduce their own risks, said Gaurav Suchak, who is in charge of supply channels at Kadira Pharmaceuticals. He added that the Indian pharmaceutical industry will turn to domestic supply of APIs in India to ensure market and supply chain security. Cipla Pharmaceuticals executive Malpani said the company will launch an “API re-engineering” program in addition to partnering with local API suppliers to avail the government’s recent subsidy incentives to the maximum and develop its own API manufacturing capabilities.
In response, Biochem’s Director of supply channels, Deshpande, said that reducing dependence on China for API imports does not mean not sourcing APIs from China in the future, “just that we are not so dependent on China anymore. However, he believes that if India wants to compete with or even surpass China in the supply chain, it must improve the infrastructure and speed up the administrative approval process as soon as possible.
The Indian government late last year has identified 53 important raw and auxiliary materials production as qualifying for government subsidy incentives. Among them, penicillin, 7-amino cephalosporanic acid, erythromycin thiocyanate and clavulanic acid have almost certainly been selected and will receive at least 36 billion rupees (1 rupee is about 0.1 yuan) production subsidies. Because the above four drugs are not produced in India, their users are completely dependent on imports. Analysts believe that India’s move is intended to consolidate its leading global pharmaceutical position, especially in the context of the future “China-India vaccine race”, to avoid being “throttled” by Chinese APIs, and India being placed in a passive position as a result. In the long run, India also hopes to build an independent and sound chain of drug production system, which is in line with its previous policy of “supply chain resilience plan” and “self-reliant India”.