‘The future of Bengal pharma industry looks better than the present’

‘The future of Bengal pharma industry looks better than the present’

Deepnath Roy Chowdhury, Vice-President-IDMA and MD, Strassenburg Pharmaceuticals Ltd. speaks to us about the Bengal pharma industry. Excerpts…

What is the present state of pharma companies in the state ?

Statistically though West Bengal constitutes 9% of the all India market it continues to contribute a mere 1.5% in terms of production value. However, on the positive side a change has taken place in the attitude and mindset of the industry. Accordingly investments are being made towards creation of appropriate physical infrastructure and today there are more than 100 GMP certified plants in the state.

What are the major issues ailing the West Bengal Pharma industry ?

The adverse industrial climate over the years ensured that no large pharma company made any investment to set up facilities in the state. Though the overall scenario seems to be changing for the better, it is already too late. It would be extremely difficult now to attract new investment in the pharma industry in West Bengal as potential investors (large and MNCs) have already set up world class facilities in different Excise Free Zones during the last 3 years.

As the regional head of the apex body for pharma companies in the country what are your suggestions to the existing companies, how there companies can survive and grow ?

Amidst all the uncertainties the future of the National Pharma Industry holds great potential. In the changed scenario we will have to strengthen our marketing efforts, introduce new products and establish brands. Only then can we compete in the market which is essential for the survival and growth of the industry here.

Secondly, we also need to focus on exports with necessary guidance and support from effective organizations like Pharmexcil. Indian pharma has been making great strides in increasing exports and there is no reason why the West Bengal based pharma companies cannot emulate the performance of their counterparts in other regions of India. Industry has to play a proactive role, obtain WHO GMP certificates and then apply for product registration to the relatively more accessible markets like Asia, Africa , South America etc.Investments in the pharma sector in the state have been very low.

What kind of financial support and incentives can lure more investments into this sector ?

Financial support and incentives in the form of exemption from payment of Excise Duty & Income Tax for a specific period as is available in Uttaranchal, Himachal, J & K and the North East will definitely go a long way in attracting investment into the pharma sector in West Bengal.

How does the future of the industry look like in West Bengal ?

The future of West Bengal pharma industry looks better than the present because there appears to be a strong will among the members of the industry to bring about a turnaround. At a macro level there have been very exciting developments like the proposed Chemical HUB / PCPIR and the setting up of a branch of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research (NIPER). These developments coupled with the present conducive environment will hopefully provide a fillip to the growth of the pharma industry in the Region.