‘Pharma exports grew 18.7% in FY21’

India’s pharmaceutical exports grew 18.7% to $24.44 billion in the financial year ended March 31, spurred by strong demand for the country’s generic drugs.

The industry posted its best export performance in value terms despite the global pharma market shrinking by 1-2% in 2020. This was due to a surge in demand for made-in-India generics, owing to their quality and affordability, said Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) Director General Ravi Udaya Bhaskar.

Sharing quick estimates released by the Centre’s Department of Commerce, Pharmexcil said in a statement that drug formulations and biologicals remained the second-largest commodity exported by India. In the previous fiscal, pharmaceutical exports had increased by 7.57% to $20.58 billion.

“We have observed a big leap in exports in March to $2.3 billion,” Mr. Bhaskar said. This was the highest in any month during the fiscal and 48.5% higher than March 2020’s exports of $1.54 billion. The year-earlier period’s performance was hurt by lockdowns and supply chain disruptions, he said. The March 2021 numbers were provisional, the official added.

Mr. Bhaskar said the 18.7% growth was the best in eight financial years.

North America remains the largest market for Indian pharmaceuticals, accounting for a more than 34% share. Exports to the U.S., Canada and Mexico recorded a growth of 12.6%, 30% and 21.4% respectively.

Exports to Africa increased 13.4% as against the previous fiscal’s growth of 2.24%. South Africa emerged as the second-largest market for Indian pharmaceuticals. Exports to the country increased 28%, while Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania were the other major markets in Africa.

Growth in exports to Europe, the third-largest market, was about 11%.

There is a growing demand for Indian pharmaceutical products in non-traditional markets such as Latin America (growth of 14.5%), CIS countries (23.5% growth) and Middle East (17.5%).

The growth rates for less unexplored markets such as Australia (21%) UAE (43%), Uzbekistan (125%) and Ukraine (40.6%) were also encouraging, Pharmexcil said in the release.

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