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Quo Vadis, Indian API-Bulk Drug Industry?
Dr Nair argues about the decline of bulk drug manufacturing and dominance of import lobbies in the country. He emphasises upon the need of having an active inter-ministerial, inter departmental group to address the key problems that are ailing the bulk drugs industry in India.

APIs and Intermediates from China, China’s pharma imports from India are negligible. If the current trend continues, India may lose out even the export market. The powers to be at the Ministries and Departments of the Government of India need to wake up and take note.
Only a few days back India was remembering (of course not celebrating) the 1962 October/November war with China. The analysis of the debacle in all forms of the media is of no consequence in the post-nuclear era of today. Of course, wars are not more fought on the ground, waters or airs tomorrow. Economic warfare is already on. While India was virtually on par with China in 1962, today we have been left far behind by China, including in Bulk Drug/API and building blocks products. Overdependence on one country for all times for building blocks is highly avoidable. To remedy this malady, Government of India need to take immediate steps to strengthen the basic manufacturing sector of pharma industry in India.
Indian bulk drug/API industry prospered in 70s and 80s along with the golden years of IDPL. IDPL was the mother-liquor of all crystallisations, such as Dr Reddy's, Aurobindo, Hetero and many many more who are thriving today more in formulation industry. There were many more, such as Chemiloids, Uniloids, Chemox and others who followed IDPL with the 'disappearing act' or wait down like Siris and others. Highly unpractical and 'hara-kiri' oriented bulk drug pricing of yester years had contributed the demise of this vibrant industry. The environmental issues led by Central and State Pollution Control Boards crusaded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, hastened this 'killing fields'. Of course, to a large extent the bulk drug industry had 'polluted' themselves to death. Fortunately, for our importing industry and China this turned to be a blessing in disguise. Just like AIOCD and FMRAI, the import lobby has become powerful enough to ensure that the bulk drug industry in India does not come to life once again. However, the government needs to see the writing on the wall before it is too late.
What needs to be done. The government has to play a proactive role in reviewing the bulk drug industry in India. The major problem of cluster development at affordable prices with government sponsored or government financed effluent treatment facilities need to be addressed. An inter-ministerial, inter departmental group (which is already operating on paper) need to be activised and alerted to the need of the hour in addressing key problems of the bulk drug industry sector of India.
Priority must be given to revive and revamp this ailing industry in National interest. The government will need to spend only a fraction or a nano percentage of the time and money that they spend to revive AirIndia and Kingfisher to bring back the once thriving vibrant API/bulk drug industry in India back to life. Let us not be taken off guard once again. It is now or never. Better late than never.