Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Sep 19, 2002
Industry & Economy
Pharma sector asked to tap Latam market potential
NEW DELHI, Sept. 18
THE Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy, has asked the domestic drugs and pharmaceuticals industry to tap the huge market existing in the Latin American region.
Inaugurating a four-day India-LAC Health Summit, organised jointly by the Department of Commerce and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here on Wednesday, he said the Indian pharma industry had a competitive edge in the Latin American market, one of the fastest growing pharma markets in the world.
The edge is due to cheaper price and an abundance of highly trained scientific personnel, he said. "Since most of these countries do not produce bulk drugs, India can hope to be a regular supplier," the Minister said.
Mr Rudy also noted that India ranked fourth globally, accounting for eight per cent of the world production by value and 17 per cent in terms of export value of bulk and finished pharmaceuticals.
Citing the benefits of favourable cost structure, high standard of business ethics and a robust legal system as India's strength, he said the traditional medical system like the Ayurveda, which had gained wider acceptance in the West as an alternative system of medicine, could be tried in the Latin American region.
"There is a need to reduce the registration time and cost as well as the procedures streamlined in the Latin American countries. The visa for professionals should be made easy by the Governments of LAC region," he said.
In his keynote address, Mr Dipak Chatterjee, Commerce Secretary, said that India had complied with all the obligations of the TRIPs Agreement and added that India's regime would be at par with the developed countries once the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) law became fully operational.
He also said that India is more or less self-sufficient in 300 essential drugs as compared to the LAC region and stressed the need to explore new ways and means to realise the full potential to increase bilateral trade.
India's exports of drugs and pharmaceuticals to select 20 Latin American countries has increased continuously from Rs 59.46 crore in 1995-96 to Rs 776.90 in 2001-02. It is projected that Government spending on the health sector in Latin America would grow at approximately 8.5 per cent per annum.
According to an estimate, the market potential for pharma products in the region would be about $28 billion. India's share in this huge market is currently less than one per cent indicating tremendous potential for growth.
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