Pharma sector to grow by 20 per cent on relaxed FDI norms: Ananth Kumar
New Delhi : The pharma sector is expected to grow by 20 per cent on account of relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) norms and a separate ministry to focus on the sunrise sector is on the anvil, Chemical and Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said.
While continuing with 100 per cent FDI under automatic route in greenfield pharmaceuticals, the government had earlier this week allowed 74 per cent foreign investment in brownfield pharma companies through the automatic route.
"The pharma industry is growing by 14 per cent every year. With relaxed FDI norms, I think pharma sector will grow by 20 per cent," Kumar said on the sidelines of an event here.
There is huge potential in the sunrise sector and more investments would boost prospects of growth, he said.
At present, the country exports pharmaceutical goods to 205 countries and every five medicines or tablets consumed in the world are from India, he added.
Kumar further said a separate ministry for the sector has been proposed for better coordination of the work.
"Already, we have proposed to the Cabinet Secretary as well as to the Prime Minister. I think for the first time, this is being discussed and is on the anvil," he said.
At present, the pharma department is looking after the drug price regulation while various other facets like licencing is with Health Ministry, promotion of industry with Commerce Ministry and research with Science and Technology Ministry.
"Therefore, we need to bring about all these things together to carve out a pharma ministry," Kumar noted.
It may be noted that FDI in brownfield projects has been a contentious issue as concerns have been raised over some mergers and acquisitions of Indian pharma companies by foreign giants.
As per estimates, over 96 per cent of the total FDI in the sector between April 2012 and April 2013 flowed into the brownfield pharma companies.
India is recognised as a major generic medicine hub of the world. The market size of the country's pharma industry is estimated at over $20 billion.