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India eyeing access to Russian pharmaceuticals market

Nayanima Basu  |  New Delhi 

India has urged Russia to open its booming $19-billion pharmaceuticals market and expedite the list of 500 drugs that it currently imports from India. During his recent visit to St Petersburg, Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister urged Russian authorities to let Indian pharmaceutical companies form with Russian companies.

India has asked the Russian side to establish a nodal agency to create a joint committee for implementation of memorandum of understanding between Indian and Russian pharma companies, especially in the field of quality control and standard requirements on conformity assessment of pharmaceuticals and bio-pharmaceuticals.

Russia's pharmaceuticals market grew to $19 billion in 2011 from $6.6 in 2005, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 23 per cent. However, there are a number of non-tariff barriers Russia imposes which makes it difficult for foreign companies to enter this market, in terms of drugs registration and research and development of new drugs.

India has already nominated its own nodal agency— The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) — under the Department of Pharmaceuticals. However, the Russian side is yet to nominate an appropriate nodal agency.

“There is considerable scope for enhancement of trade as well as investments, in the pharmaceutical sector. As the list of 57 strategically identified medicines is now available, we may expect further cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector,” a senior commerce department official told Business Standard.

India is also planning to actively participate in Russia’s ‘Pharma 2020 Programme’ that would facilitate setting up of production units in Russia, besides, streamlining the registration process and sharing of information on drugs imported by Russia and on production volumes of strategically identified medicines.

Indian pharmaceutical products are of international standards and 30-40 per cent cheaper than other markets on an average. Indian pharmaceutical market is the third largest in the world, in terms of production volume and fourteenth in terms of value. Pharmaceutical exports constituted about 4-5 per cent of India’s total exports in the last five years. India’s pharmaceutical exports constitute 58 per cent of generics drugs, 40 per cent of active pharmaceutical ingredients and two per cent of ayurvedic or herbal products.

India produces about 8 per cent of the world’s generic drugs. Some of the major export destinations are the US, the UK and Germany. Bilateral trade between India and Russia in 2011 stood at $5.965 billion. Both sides have set a target of achieving $20- billion trade by 2015.

First Published: Wed, July 04 2012. 00:45 IST