Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil)'s year-end report has pegged the total pharma exports from India at $19.14 billion for 2018-19 with a growth of 10.72 per cent over $17.28 billion in pharma exports last year.
The double-digit growth has returned to pharma exports after three years of flat-to-marginal export growth, driven by formulations exports to North America among other destinations, according to the report.
Indian pharma exports registered a double digit growth of 10.17 per cent at $16.89 billion last time in 2015-16.
Giving a performance break-up of individual categories within the pharma segment, the Union Commerce Ministry's nodal agency said that the export of drug formulations and biologicals, which grew at 12.13 per cent, alone added close to $1.5 billion to the total pharma export revenues this time around.
With a total contribution of $13.56 billion, formulations accounted for 70.87 per cent of the total pharma exports in the year 2018-19, according to data.
"India exports only generic formulations and global generics market growth in 2018 calendar year is reported to have grown at just over 5 per cent while India's export of this category is growing 2.2 times faster than the market," Pharmexcil said. Exports of formulations through the year has done well except in the month of December, 2018, and the average exports of formulations during the year has touched $1.14 billion a month, according to the report.
The only category of pharmaceuticals that showed a negative growth in exports this time was herbal products, exports of which stood at $299 million as compared to $312 million in the previous year.
Bulk drugs and drug intermediates, which is next big category of exports after formulations, grew at 10.48 per cent to reach $3.9 billion as compared to $3.5 billion last year. Export of vaccines and surgical grew 1.31 per cent and 3.19 per cent at $661.93 million and $569.77 million respectively in 2018-19.
Quoting the Director General Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (GGCIS) data for the month of February 2019, the pharmaceutical agency maintained that the price erosion was beginning to plateau and recovery in margins was seen in the US.
The top 25 export destinations contribute 76.52 per cent of the formulation exports amounting to
$10.38 billion. Among these, the US continues to be the largest export destination with over 38.62 per cent of the total generic exports to that country at $5.24 billion.
Of the total 1638 market authorisations granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) in the year 2018, Indian companies alone got 538 authorisations (product approvals) and many of these products have six or more companies competing. "Indian companies need to file complex generic applications and also of biosimilars to steer away from intense competition and look for higher margins. Biocon has already made a beginning in biosimilars," the report said.