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Republic Economic Summit | India's Milestones In COVID Vaccine Export Re-establishes It As 'Pharmacy Of The World'

The healthcare sector of India is a leading source of path-breaking innovation especially when it comes to providing life-saving medicines at affordable price.

Republic Economic Summit


In the lead-up to the first-ever Republic 'India Economic Summit', which will see the most influential names in the industry and the economic world come together to put the world's fastest-growing major economy under the microscope, Republic World takes an in-depth look into some of its key drivers.

Here is a look at how the Indian healthcare sector re-established as the pharmacy of the world.

India's healthcare sector - 'Fulfilling domestic and global needs' 

The booming healthcare sector of India is a leading source of path-breaking innovation especially when it comes to providing life-saving medicines at affordable prices to countries that need them the most. For the past 50 years, Indian pharmaceutical firms have been successful not only in meeting its domestic needs but also in achieving a leading position in the landscape of the global pharmaceutical. 

With companies like Cipla, Aurobindo, Emcure, Hetero, Macleods, Matrix, Ranbaxy and Strides, India has played an enormous role in supplying medicines to the world. Also, India has supplied vaccines to the world, with vaccine manufacturing companies like Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Zydus Cadila, Biological E, Gennova Biopharma and Panacea Biotech leading the charge.

From having just a 5% share of the market in India in 1969, with 95% share held by global pharma, Indian pharma now has 85% share in its own country's market, with global pharma having just 15% hold in 2020. 

India's role of 'Pharmacy of the world' re-established during pandemic 

During the pandemic as well, in addition to protecting its own population, India also acted in the world’s best interests by providing medical supplies and equipment to more than 150 countries across the globe and placing a critical supply of the COVID vaccine on the world market.  

As per data, India exported 5.84 crore doses of COVID vaccine to 70 countries as of March 2021. Besides vaccines, India also exported critical drugs like hydroxychloroquine, paracetamol as well as azithromycin to over 20 countries to aid the fight against the COVID pandemic.

Pertinently, India in the past emerged as a life-saver by producing affordable versions of cure for HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, reducing the price by over 99%. 

Revolution in India's healthcare sector

COVID pandemic is making fundamental changes to the world. The Indian life sciences and healthcare industry are not immune to broader emerging trends including digital care, data-driven connected healthcare ecosystem, supply chain consolidation, and R&D innovation.

To take India's healthcare sector to new heights, the Finance Ministry announced increased allocation of funds. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed a ₹2,23,846 crore budget outlay for health and well-being for FY 2021-22, as compared to ₹94,452 crore in the current fiscal, an increase of 137%.

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