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Karnataka Pharma units in pink, thanks to outsourcing

Vishwanath Kulkarni

The total turnover of the industry in the State is estimated to be in the region of Rs 1,600 crore.

BANGALORE, April 12

OUTSOURCING of pharmaceutical manufacturing has gained prominence in Karnataka over the last three to five years.

A majority of pharma companies in the country, including MNCs, are outsourcing their manufacturing requirements of both bulk drugs or formulations from the State.

With this trend, pharma units in and around Bangalore have already expanded their capacities in the last few years. Of the the 70 companies, both big and small in the State, about 28 are operating in and around Bangalore while the others are spread across Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli and Raichur.

"With just around one per cent of the total pharma manufacturing companies in the country, Karnataka accounts for 10 per cent of both the country's exports and domestic production,'' said Mr Jatish Sheth, Secretary, Karnataka Drugs and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association.

The total turnover of the industry in the State is estimated to be in the region of Rs 1,600 crore while exports account for nearly Rs 450 crore. It also employs nearly 30,000 employees, both skilled and semi-skilled.

The pharma sector is the third largest employer in the State after the garment and the IT industry. The exports from the State are mainly to the US, the UK and Africa.

"The products manufactured in Karnataka are respected for quality '' said Mr Sheth. "This is primarily because of the world class facilities that are available and also due to the strict regulatory measures enforced by the State Drug Control Department, considered to be the best in the country,'' he added.

"There is a tremendous potential to grow provided the State Government gives some sort of an encouragement, not in terms of incentives but in terms of providing good infrastructure facilities such as uninterrupted supply of power, common effluent treatment plant etc.,'' said Mr Suresh Khanna, Director, Kemwell Ltd.

Bangalore was ideally suited for pharma industry in terms of climatic conditions such as temperature, humidity and relatively clean atmosphere, Mr Khanna said.

Pharma companies such as GlaxoSmithkline, Zydus Cadila, Cipla, Astra Zeneca, Wyeth, E-Merck, US Vitamins, Ranbaxy and Aventis are among others who outsource their requirements to the manufacturing units in the State.

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