API should be declared strategic sector especially in light of Coronavirus: CII
New Delhi: The coronavirus outbreak makes a compelling case for the government to declare active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) as a strategic sector as most inputs are imported, industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Thursday.
"Firms, for which capacity utilisation is 40 per cent, may be permitted to produce API which is being imported. Approvals for new investments should be fast-tracked," CII said in a statement.
Blanket environment permission should be provided to manufacture any API on submission of self-certification to comply with pollution load requirement, it added.
CII also recommended raising API and intermediates produced in the country by creation of large API parks with fiscal benefits for existing API and intermediates plant, supportive regulatory framework and common infrastructure facilitating single-window clearances for API parks.
For the healthcare sector, CII said the hospitals in larger cities and district hospitals in smaller cities and towns should be identified or designated as 'COVID hospital' for testing and isolation of patients.
Private sector hospitals can contribute to the required equipment and the manpower, it added.
The outbreak could also lead to a significant shortage of supply in the medical technology sector as the country heavily imports dependent, CII said.
"While the real impact on the industry is likely to be visible only after April 2020, the local manufacturer's capacities will need to be bolstered, which would likely become reliable sources amid global shortages," CII said.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that through a written reply in the Lok Sabha Shri. D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Minister for Chemicals & fertilizers informed the parliament about the import of APIs /drugs and the extent of its dependence on China for the same.
The Indian Pharmaceutical industry is 3rd largest in the world in terms of volume and 14th largest in terms of value. India exported medicines worth US $14389 mn in Financial Year 2018-19. India also exported Bulk Drug/Drug Intermediates worth the US $ 3911mn in Financial Year 2018-19.