Indian machinery industry should be trendsetter rather than follower

Indian machinery industry should be trendsetter rather than follower

Rajesh Shah, President, Indian Pharmaceutical Machinery Manufacturers Association, speaks about the developments required for the allied industry, in conversation with Usha Sharma

What will be your responsibilities at Indian Pharmaceutical Machinery Manufacturers Association (IPMMA)?

I had joined Indian Pharma Machinery Manufacturers Association (IPMMA) at its inception in 2001. I was a member of the executive committee from 2002 and was elected the Vice President in 2005. I had the pleasure of working with our Ex-President and current trustee Bhavna Shah. My functional responsibility as the President of IPMMA is to work towards the goals which are set by our constitution for the betterment of the industry. This year we are concentrating on organising machinery exhibition shows which will be conceived and executed by IPMMA with the help and co-operation of our members.

Do you feel that current industry guidelines and standards require modifications?

There are no specific guidelines which are in place for manufacturing of pharmaceutical machines, set up by the government or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Barring what has been mentioned in the Schedule M of the FDA act. The industry is following its own internal standards, which are generally drafted by western machinery manufacturers.

What changes you would like to make in the machinery segment after landing the President’s position in IPMMA?

The machinery segment at the moment is still quite ‘inward’ rather than ‘outward looking’. This is quite understandable given the fact that there is such a huge domestic market for their products. However, to keep pace with the current practices and developments in the world, the machinery manufacturers should have greater exposure to the current trends in technology in the world. I would like to see the machinery industry in India as a trend setter rather than a follower, which is what it is today.

Korea and China are considered as better manufacturing destinations for pharma machinery. What are the loopholes in the Indian pharma machinery industry?

This is a misconception amongst many that Korea and China are better manufacturing destinations. One has to remember that the pharma Industry is not looking for ‘cheap’ machines, but for a ‘value for money’ proposition. Well, ‘value for money’ encompasses many aspects like reliability, support, up-gradability etc. As you have mentioned that, East Asian countries are able to make ‘cheap’ machines but I don’t think that, they are able to offer the value propositions which India can. I am also aware of the fact that there are many large pharma machinery manufacturers who have set up their own manufacturing bases in China and not so many in India. However, those are meant for catering to the domestic instead of global consumption. Each country’s region always offers certain competitiveness in an industry, and I would encourage our Indian manufacturers too to take advantage of the mass production techniques of China and Korea and blend them with the ‘intelligence’ of India to increase our competitiveness in the world.

What is your outlook for the export market?

At present there is no clear statistics available within the country for pharma machinery exports from India. This is because of the fact that pharma machines are clubbed along with all engineering exports by the Government. Our first priority is working with the Government to have a separate chapter in the Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) for pharma machines so that clear data is available on the value and the regions where the export takes place. Special efforts can then be made to increase the market share in these regions and also explore regions were there is no business at present. We are also working to get the pharma machinery industry to be included in Pharmexcil rather than the EEPC as we do feel that our industry can benefit from this.

What business prospects does the pharma and biotech industry hold?

The Indian pharma industry is expected to grow at a robust 12 – 15 percent despite the current global economic crisis. Furthermore healthcare spending, which is of a major concern to most of the western governments is coming under closer scrutiny to find alternative ways and means to curb the same. India is known globally as a quality producer of generic drugs. Hence I foresee India as becoming one of the biggest hubs in the world for generics and this will in turn give a huge boost to the domestic machinery sector.

What goals would you like to achieve during your tenure?

Besides creating a world class machinery show, I would like to increase the membership of our Association to give it a more geographical spread and recognition of our industry with Government authorities.