The Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA) plans to amp up pharma business in Tamil Nadu by helping more companies meet WHO production standards.
The association says it is focussing on the state, in Southern India, after recognising its potential - currently at fourth place in the Indian domestic market with an annual turnover of $533m (Rs.26bn).
And with the local government offering backing to the industry as well putting a “good law and order” system in place, the IDMA is now touting the area as the next hit for companies looking to manufacture drugs from all over the world.
However the organisation’s VP S.V. Veerramani said the 552 SMEs (small to medium enterprises) in the area must become WHO (World Health Organistion) compliant with upgrades to facilities if they are to compete with India’s top 10 major nationals.
He told in-PharmaTechnologist the IDMA will provide WHO GMP (good manufacturing practice) consultants to advise Tamil Nadu drugs makers on the matter.
The experts will give information on the required plant specifications, conduct mock audits in preparation for WHO certification application, and will offer advise on available funding that could help them get up to scratch with compliance.
“We will act as facilitators of knowledge, funds and business opportunity,” he told us.
“With respect to knowledge, we plan to have talks from successful CEOs and also conduct seminars on management and technical subjects.
“As facilitators of funds, we will provide information to our manufacturers on the funding opportunities and the government support.”
Looking to the future, the IDMA now hopes plants in the region will become a force to be reckoned with in the global market.
“I am sure these aspects will be welcomed by the overseas clients,” Veerramani added.
The cluster effect
The move is backed by industry experts in India. Frost & Sullivan healthcare analyst Aiswariya Chidambaram sees the same success for fourth place manufacturing region Tamil Nadu as Gujarat – which now comes in second.
She told in-PharmaTechnologist: “Tamil Nadu is a very promising region, but when you look at the figures it only makes up five per cent of the Indian manufacturing industry.
“But there is definitely un-tapped potential there. There is a lot of cheap skilled labour available, one of the best IT hubs in the industry – infrastructural and technology wise – and a lot of English speakers.”
Problems with gaining WHO GMP compliance means that the area is suffering a lot of plant closures.
But with the local government replicating the “cluster” scheme which saw Gujarat shoot to pharma fame, Chidambaram predicts big things for Tamil Nadu.
“Basically the Gujarat government identified around 50 manufacturers making identical products with in a 10km radius and got them to form a cluster to share resources,” she said. “They encouraged them financially and a lot of the companies gained GMP compliance.”
She added: “I would definitely say it is a good initiave. This is going to have a positive effect on Indian revenues, and I think Tamil Nadu will do very well out of it.”