Tithy Mondal (MeraNews, Ahmedabad): The Indian pharmaceutical industry’s marketing and manufacturing abilities were on display at Pharmac India 2017 even as its representatives debated the regulatory and legal challenges it is facing.

“The agenda of Pharmac India 2017 is to project the strength, the achievements, the growth and potential of the Indian pharma industry and to provide a boost for the next level of growth in the years to come,” said Deepnath Roy Chowdhury, national president of the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA). “The Indian pharma industry has had phenomenal growth over the last few decades. From being almost a nonentity, we have developed into a global leader in the production of affordable quality generics for the entire world.”

Chowdhury, who is managing director at Kolkata-based Strassenburg Pharmaceuticals Ltd, also spoke about regulatory hurdles. “We, along with the industry, are facing certain challenges because of proposed changes in laws and guidelines, which are affecting the SME (small and medium enterprise) sector. Along with the proposal of making it mandatory to have one company, one brand, one price, the number of notifications introducing regulatory laws and amending the laws that have taken place in the last 24 months is more than what has happened in the last 20 years.”

“But we hope that this bombshell of the government’s proposed policy will be kept and reserved for the time being,” he said at the inauguration ceremony at the Gujarat University Exhibition and Convention Centre.

The other speakers at the event on Tuesday included Dr H.G. Koshia, commissioner at the Food and Drug Control Administration for Gujarat; Arvind Kukrety, deputy drugs controller for the Ahmedabad zone; Ganesh Narayan Nayak, chief operating officer and executive director at Ahmedabad-headquartered Cadila Healthcare Ltd; Viranchi Shah, Gujarat chairman for IDMA and a director at Saga Laboratories; and Mahendra Mehta, president of the Indian Pharma Machinery Manufacturing Association (IPMMA) and chief executive officer of Parle Global Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

The eighth edition of the event will feature industry-specific conferences and seminars, over three days, with exhibitors given an opportunity to pre-book appointments with major international and domestic pharmaceutical firms. Discussions will also be held on procurements and the opportunities for the contract manufacturing and engineering segment in Gujarat under the goods and services tax (GST) regime. Exports to Africa and South-East Asia will be discussed, along with the benefits of moving from the Schedule M standards under the Drug and Cosmetics Act to good manufacturing practices prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Delegations from pharma companies including Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Pfizer Ltd, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Astron Research Limited, Lupin Ltd, Mylan NV, Halewood Laboratories Pvt. Ltd will be participating in the three-day exhibition, which is expected to see more than 6,000 visitors.

Koshia, who was the chief guest at the inauguration, spoke about Gujarat’s success. “Gujarat has dispensed 1,400 long-pending cases under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act in a single day through special courts setting a benchmark for the entire nation,” he said, adding that the fast disposal resulted in nearly Rs1.25 crore being contributed to the government exchequer through penalties collected after resolution.

Gujarat currently contributes 33 percent of the national pharma market.

He also said that the number of pharmaceutical manufacturing units in the country is expected to rise as GST has created a level playing field for the industry.

IPMMA president Mehta spoke of the shift from the Indian pharma industry’s dependence on foreign technology to the ability to compete on the global stage. “With schemes like Make in India and other government initiatives, we now have many foreign companies in India that are coming for our manufacturing. We provide many technical supports at a very economic rate.”

“Laws are made to change. But now there is greater transparency and predictability. About 80 percent of the work now is done online. There is a lot of positivity that has come out of regulations. I feel every manufacturer should upgrade and cater to the mid-income countries of the world,” said Kukrety.