Countering supply disruption: DoP panel for tax holidays, incentives to cos producing key drug ingredients
As India looks to avert a potential drug shortage crisis in the wake of escalating Covid-19 cases globally, a standing committee set up by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, last month, recommended sops such as tax holidays and special first-come-first-serve incentives to companies willing to manufacture key ingredients that India “heavily” depends on other countries for.
The committee, chaired by Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) joint drug controller Eswara Reddy, had prepared a list of 58 drug ingredients that India needed to produce in the country in order to make its pharma industry self-reliant. This includes painkillers like paracetamol, antibiotics like amoxicillin and azithromycin, anti-TB drugs like rifampicin, cardiovascular medicines like valsartan and telmisartan, crucial diabetes drug metformin and vitamins like B12 and C.
The DoP, on Tuesday, said India had enough stock of these ingredients to last up to three months, which means the country would have enough stock of the finished medicines to last around six months, an industry source said.
Meanwhile, the committee has proposed that “price incentives” be given to companies for drugs made using domestically manufactured raw materials belonging to the list of 58, sources told The Indian Express. This is for encouraging the use of the country’s indigenous active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) capacity and, in turn, give an impetus to domestic bulk drug makers, according to one of the sources.
Another recommendation is to offer a 10-year tax holiday — temporarily reduce or eliminate taxes — to make it more “attractive” for companies to make these ingredients, The Indian Express has learnt.
A third proposal is for the government to provide “special incentives” to the first five drug makers willing to establish such manufacturing capabilities, the source said.
The committee wants the government to prioritise those APIs and KSMs (key starting materials) for which India is heavily dependent on imports when granting these incentives. The committee observed that “concrete” measures were urgently required to ensure the country’s drug security due to its heavy dependency on China.
The committee, which submitted its report to DoP on February 25, observed the impact of the novel coronavirus on China’s drug making hubs called for India to beef up its self sufficiency. However, it added the Centre needed to look beyond short-term support and help the Indian industry build self-reliance and a viable API ecosystem in the long run.
Source: Indian Express
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