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Indian Pharma Sector on a backfoot in exports, the slowest growth in at least 15 years at 1.2 per cent to $14.84 billion during the fiscal 2013-14.

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Amid rising concerns over the country’s rigid Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), India’s pharmaceutical exports registered the slowest growth in at least 15 years at 1.2 per cent to $14.84 billion during the fiscal 2013-14. A year ago that is, 2012-13, the country’s pharma exports stood at $14.66 billion.

With exports slowing down significantly, industry is doubtful if the government’s ambitious target of achieving $25 billion during the financial year 2014-15 can be reached.

According to data available with the Ministry of Commerce, the growth registered in 2013-14 was the slowest in nearly 15 years. The previous slowest was in 2009-10 when pharma export grew by about 5.9 per cent. In calendar year 2000, it grew by 7 per cent.

“The year 2013-14 has seen slowdown in growth because of the US raising concerns and due to increase in global competition,” said PV Appaji, Executive Director, Pharmexcil adding that Indian companies have, however, have been providing quality and affordable drugs across global markets.

Over the past five years, pharma exports have increased from $6.23 billion to $8.7 billion, an annual growth rate of 21 per cent. And for Indian companies, the US market is critical as they supply over 40 per cent of the generic drugs only next to Canada.

Notwithstanding the Indian companies contribution to the US market, the Obama administration has been strongly criticising India’s investment climate and IPR laws, especially in the pharmaceuticals sector.

Pharma companies in the US have objected to India’s move to issue a compulsory licence in March 2012 to Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma Ltd to manufacture and sell Bayer’s cancer-treatment drug Nexavar at a cheaper price.

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