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NEW DELHI : The department of pharmaceuticals has set up a high-level committee to monitor the progress of bulk drug parks that are being set up in three states.

The parks in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and poll-bound Gujarat are aimed at ensuring India’s drug security through a steady supply of bulk drug active ingredients.

The high-level committee is headed by Mansukh Mandaviya, Union minister of chemical and fertilizer, with minister of state Bhagwanth Khuba as vice chairman, and secretary (pharma), DCGI and other senior officials including industry experts as members.

The aim is to focus on specific bulk drugs which India is importing in order to reduce import dependence.

Under the scheme, the parks are being supported in the form of financing of common infrastructure facilities and projects.

“The Department of Pharmaceuticals has... constituted a High-Level Committee to monitor the progress of the parks under the chairmanship of minister of chemical and fertilizers," said an office memorandum issued on 10 November.

“The state of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh will present the details of design, strategy of selection of industrial units along with the list of bulk drugs going to be manufactured in the parks, well before the allotment of plots to ensure that through the scheme, the intended objectives of domestic manufacturing of critical bulk drugs is achieved," read the memorandum.

An official who did not want to be named said the government wants to focus on specific bulk drugs which India is importing in bulk, rather than produce bulk drugs which are already available in large quantities.

“That is why we want to have an oversee through a government committee at the minister level so that the state governments will be careful while allotting the land," said the official aware of the matter.

“For example there is an allotment of 1,000 acre-land in Himachal Pradesh and the state government has to allot to some 20-30 industries. So which industry they have to allot to... that has to be carefully done. Normally what the state government does is that they allot the land on first come first basis, but they do not see whether the particular industry has a potential to produce, what technology they have."

Further, the committee will facilitate alignment of investments in the bulk drug parks with pharmaceutical industry requirements and public health needs. “It will further facilitate transfer of technology and other interventions required to achieve the above objectives," read the memorandum.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is the third largest in the world by volume. However, the country is significantly dependent on import of basic raw materials, the ingredients that are used to produce medicines.

In some specific bulk drugs the import dependence is 80 to 100%. Any disruption in supplies can have significant impact on drug security, which is also linked to the overall economy of the country.

Queries sent to the DoP spokesperson did not elicit a response.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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