In a bid to boost bulk drug manufacturing and cut reliance on imports from China, Narendra Modi led government is planning to invest over Rs 5,000 crore for the establishment of bulk drug cluster parks.
Bulk drugs, also known as active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), are the ingredients in a drug that give it its therapeutic effect. The government estimates that currently India imports almost 90% of its bulk drugs from China.
Common imported bulk drugs include painkillers such as paracetamol and aspirin, and antacid ranitidine - known by its trade name of Zantac.
"The proposed plan envisions mega parks for pharma clusters through special purpose vehicles (SPV), which will be provided with a host of incentives for manufacturers," a senior official at department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) told HT. "List of incentives include a 15-year tax holiday, allocation of coal and electricity at concessional rates, soft loans to industry through interest subsidy of 5% and income-tax benefits for an initial period of 10 years."
The government has already declared 2015 as the 'Bulk Drugs Year' in a move that will serve as a booster dose for government's flagship Make in India programme. "With an aim to strengthen the Make in India initiative, we are targeting to produce 100% of bulk drugs domestically and stop the API imports from China in next two to three years," Minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Hansraj Gangaram Ahir had earlier told HT.
Considering that objective, the chemicals and fertiliser ministry floated a draft cabinet note last week in line with the recommendations of VM Katoch committee. "The note has also proposed formation of a separate bulk drug authority which will look into the implementation of such schemes," another bureaucrat at the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers said.