COVID-19 hit: Indian pharma exports miss target, stand at USD 20.58 bn in FY' 20

Hyderabad, May 8 (PTI): The Indian pharmaceutical sector has been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown as exports have registered USD 20.58 billion during the 2019-20 financial year as against the targeted USD 22 billion in the previous fiscal.

Despite this, there was 7.57 per cent overall growth in exports in FY '20 over 2018-19, a press release from the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council, a body under the Ministry of Commerce, said on Friday.

Though the exports started doing well in 2019-20 and it has been a good year for the first three quarters with cumulative growth rate of 11.5 per cent during April-December 2019, the growth rate in February and March has gone down recording 7.7 per cent and -23.24 per cent respectively, resulting in the negative growth of - 2.97 per cent in the fourth quarter, the release said.

Having seen a good export trend in the first three quarters and price stabilisation in the United States, it was estimated that FY 2020 exports would reach USD 22-billion mark.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted exports to a certain extent and brought down the estimated exports to USD 20.58 billion with an overall growth of 7.57 per cent instead of double-digit growth, the release said.

Drug formulations and biologicals, contributing to almost 72 per cent of exports, have shown 9.5 per cent growth in FY 2020.

However, export of bulk drugs and drug intermediates, the second largest category, has negatively grown (-0.73%), bringing down the overall performance.

'The overall exports to North America have recorded 15.11 per cent growth. About USD 6.7 billion worth of pharmaceuticals were exported to the USA with 15.8 per cent growth. This has constituted almost 32.74 per cent of our total exports, it said.

India being dependent on China to an extent of 60-70 per cent of its needs of bulk drugs has suffered disruption in the supply chain with the outbreak of COVID-19.

'Our import of bulk drugs went down significantly in February. Combined with lockdown measures across the countries and export restrictions on some of the products have all contributed to the situation of downturn in export growth,' the release said.

The Central government has taken a decision to develop three mega bulk drug parks in partnership with states. The Centre would give Rs 1,000-crore grants-in-aid to states for each bulk drug park.

The scheme is expected to reduce manufacturing cost of bulk drugs in the country and dependency on other countries for bulk drugs, it said. PTI GDK NVG NVG