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Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industry in India post COVID: A slow progression towards self-dependence

Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industry in India post COVID: A slow progression towards self-dependence

The COVID 19 Pandemic has exposed and laid bare the frailties of an Indian pharmaceutical sector which is still in a nascent stage of development. India statistically had the least number of bed count and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) facilities to treat active COVID 19 patients. The decision of imposing a quick and unsolicited lockdown in the midst of the Pandemic has cost India, dear.

Businesses have suffered a tremendous cash crunch and are on the verge of collapsing, 14 crore job losses have been recorded in the past 6 months and the plight of the migrant workers are better left unsaid. India has surged to the top of the global Coronavirus Infection Growth. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Administrative Authorities have taken the decisions to improve the facets of the Niti Ayog and Ayushman Bharat Schemes. Several analysis agencies have revealed the fact that India is highly dependent on China for the import of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and other forms of drugs. About 50% of the Indian drug market is consistently based on the import of drugs from China. 

Diplomatic Tensions between India and China have been at an all-time high. After the Galwan Valley Incident on 15th June, when the Indian Armed forces and the Chinese PLA clashed with each other, reports claimed that almost 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

Since then Chinese soldiers have infiltrated and occupied Indian territory. While Diplomatic talks between the foreign relations chief of both the countries are underway, a reasonable solution has not been arrived at. 

Under the blanket of emotions, India took a decision to drastically cut all economic ties with China and strengthen trade relationships with countries like France, United States of America and Israel. While the United States have had their own share of problems related to COVID, they have not stopped short of calling China the perpetrators. The virus emerged from a food market in Wuhan, China and that has made the US President Donald Trump claim that the virus was made in a lab and was a potent weapon of human annihilation made by China.

Thus COVID has not only exposed the medical unpreparedness but has also made evident the kind of fragile trade relations countries have with each other. 

Several analyst agencies have claimed in their reports that India needs to diversify its API and Healthcare Industry. Dependence on one particular country for the import of nearly 50% of the medicinal drug consumed is something that is going to be a massive bone of contention in the future. Thus we should improve our own Healthcare Infrastructure and look to increase the production of API by manifold times. 

During the Independence day speech made by our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he highlighted that India is working towards achieving complete production and economic independence in relation to API and Pharmaceutical sector. India is looking to achieve its Pharma Vision 2020.

Expansion of medical research facilities has already been undertaken by the Government. The systematic procedure to keep electronic records of the patients has also been initiated. 

The electronic records would be immensely helpful for future reference. It would also act as a guide for tracking the consumer feedback mechanism. Moreover, Bio incubators are being developed by the research agencies to expand the opportunity to uphold the pharma care industry.

Telemedicine and Consultation Calling on the phone has improved by rapid strides. Nowadays State and Central Governments have looked to reduce consumer harassment by issuing Central and State-controlled Telephone numbers. 

People who are distressed about COVID or any other disease, in general, can consult a doctor who will advise them on the treatment and medication required for the particular disorder. This ensures quick consumer redressal of grievances. Removal of economic trade barriers, eradication of environmental regulations stopping the smooth flow of API and the expansion of the medical facilities are acting as the major boosts for the growth in the pharmaceutical sector of our country. 

Moreover, India has also become a part of the COVAX programme along with the other prominent countries in the world. The Serum Institute, the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world is currently working on Phase 2 of the human trial of the vaccine that has been produced by epidemiologists in Oxford University and marketed by AstraZeneca.

Researchers at Bharat Biotech, the Indian Research Wing for a vaccine for COVID 19 have been working extensively to discover a cure for this critical virus. 

Conclusion 

We must emerge stronger from the virus since our healthcare sector has suffered unprecedented damage and would require a complete overhaul. India must build on the message of Self Reliance or 'Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan', a grand initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a global hub for industries.

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