The Indian Pharmaceutical Dealer's Association (IPDA), the largest association of pharmaceutical dealers in e-commerce, has demanded immediate lifting of the ban by Maharashtra government on pharma exports. The association claimed here on Tuesday that the ban has caused a huge setback to the industry.
Pharma companies in state claim to be suffering losses of over Rs 4 crore everyday since February, when Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned exports of pharma products through parcel posts. Navneet Verma, IPDA secretary from Mumbai, claimed that the association has over 50 pharma manufacturers and export members. He said, "State should immediately intervene to stop harassment on the pretext of curbing clandestine activities. There is an issue of illegal exports, but because of some black sheep all others are suffering losses."
Parcel post accounted for 30% of the total $2 billion (Rs 12,000 crore) global e-commerce market for pharma industry. This has completely crashed since February and caused huge revenue loss to the government as well. Maharashtra FDA has often cited violation of Drug & Cosmetics Act of 1940, to impose the ban. However, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act is not even applicable on exports, claims the association. It is meant to merely regulate manufacture, stocking or selling of drugs within the country.
Medicine export falls under the 'Foreign Trade Policy' and not under Drugs and Cosmetic Act. Hence FDA cannot take ban export, say IPDA members. The business is monitored by the Reserve Bank of India and undertaken with the approval of Assistant Drug Controller of India and the customs department. Also, the powers of state drug regulatory authorities of any Indian state are limited to the manufacture and sale of medicines in that state. While state authorities can order a company to stop manufacturing a medicine under certain circumstances, it cannot issue an order to specifically ban medicine exports.
Verma went on to level serious charges against the state FDA, saying that it is working at the behest of American pharma lobby, which has been spending millions of dollars annually to kill competition from small and medium-scale generic pharma companies in India. "Even Interpol has found no wrongdoing by any of the 50 members of IPDA over the last seven years in its global investigations against drug trafficking. We are meeting union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday as the new government is at least ready to listen to our grievances," he said.
Indian pharma industry worth $65 billion, accounts for 1.4% by value and 10% by volume of global market; ministry of commerce targeting $25 billion exports by 2016
India's drug exports registered slowest growth in last 15 years at 1.2% to $14.84 billion in 2013-14
Global e-commerce pharma market stands close to $2bn, of which India enjoys 30% market share
Maharashtra contributes 20% of total pharmaceutical output of India, Rs16,000 crore (2012-13)
in 2011-12, state pharma companies contributed Rs 1,400cr through e-commerce
Ban on pharma exports leading to daily loss of Rs 4 crore
Medium and small scale pharma cos in state pay Rs 1 crore every day to use postal services for e-commerce
In 2011, state had 347 bulk drug units, 693 formulation units and various manufacturing units
Maharashtra also has 171 units approved under World Health Organisation's Good Manufacturing Practices (WHO-GMP) guidelines and 10 units approved by United States Food and Drug Administration
Source:Times of India