In a move that will serve as a booster dose for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the government plans to revive several closed and loss-making pharma public sector units (PSUs).
Five major pharma PSUs need urgent attention, and two of them — Indian Drugs and Pharmaceutical Ltd (IDPL) and Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd — are already receiving resuscitation measures.
“With the policy to close import of bulk drugs, it is very important to revive the defunct or loss-making public pharma companies,” said Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, minister of state, chemicals and fertilisers.
The government has declared 2015 as the ‘Bulk Drugs Year’. “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,” Ahir said.
These PSUs will raise funds on their own by selling land holdings with a combined valuation of Rs 1,800 crore. “For IDPL and HAL, we have unused factory land available at prime locations which will be disposed of,” said a senior bureaucrat in the department of pharmaceuticals.
The government is working on a Rs 900-crore revival package for IDPL. “About 50% of the investment would be made in the Balanagar facility, the rest would be used for Gurgaon and Rishikesh plants,” the bureaucrat said.
For HAL, the first drug manufacturing unit in India to undertake commercial production of antibiotics, the government plans to to inject about Rs 900 crore in phases.