China accounted for 67.56 per cent of total imports of bulk drugs and drug intermediates in 2018-19 at $2,405.42 million, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.
The import of bulk drugs and drug intermediates from China stood at $2,055.94 million in 2017-18, accounting for 68.68 per cent of their total import, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers D V Sadananda Gowda said in a reply to the Lok Sabha.
Citing data from DGCIS Kolkata, he said share of China in the total bulk drug imported to the country during 2018-19 was around 67 per cent.
"The country imports bulk drugs/active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for producing medicines including certain essential medicines. As India is a signatory to the WTO and TRIPs agreement, as such the import restrictions have been removed," Gowda said.
It may be mentioned that most of the imports of the bulk drugs and APIs are being done in the country because of economic considerations, he added.
Stating that the government is committed to making India sufficiently self-reliant in end-to-end indigenous drug manufacturing by making Indian pharmaceutical industry globally competitive, Gowda said: "The policies formulated by the government from time to time are designed to minimise the country's dependence on imports and to give fillip to indigenous manufacturing."
In this direction, the government in its notification on January 28, 2016, has withdrawn exemption of customs duty of certain categories of bulk drugs and APIs, he added.
"Further, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has prepared an umbrella scheme namely 'Scheme for Development of Pharmaceutical Industry' with the objective to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of domestic pharmaceutical industry so as to enable it to play a lead role in the global market and to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of quality pharmaceuticals of mass consumption," the minister said.
The umbrella scheme includes a sub-scheme for providing assistance to the bulk drug industry, he added.