Unlocking India’s Potential In Food & Pharma Sectors

The Pharmaceutical and Food sectors are the bellwether sectors of the Indian economy, holding immense potential of growth. However, this growth will entirely depend on the industry’s effort to implement initiatives that are innovative in nature to help transform these sectors and achieve their full growth potential.

To address the various challenges faced by the Food and Pharma sectors in India and outline the future roadmap to ensure their uninhibited growth, Elets Technomedia in association with Food and Drug Administration, Gujarat, organised the first National Food and Pharma Summit in Ahmedabad on August 28. The summit was graced by who’s who of the food and pharmaceutical industry.

The summit offered a unique platform for all the stakeholders of food and pharma industry to come together to discuss technological innovations and various issues at hand. The deliberations and discussions at the summit underscored the need for adopting innovative means to help India become a leader in these industrial segments, even as experts admitted that despite delivering high volumes of food and pharma products to the world a lot needs to be done in terms of quality improvement in order to claim a bigger pie of the global market.

Apart from highlighting the most pressing issues concerning the food and pharma sectors, the summit also acknowledged the exemplary work being done by food business operators and pharma companies by honouring them with awards in various categories.

The National Food and Pharma Summit was organised in Gujarat owing to the state’s leadership position in terms of ease of doing business, coupled with various e-Governance initiatives that have brought in transparency in regulatory processes. Backed by a favourable business environment, the state has emerged as the food and pharma capital of India and is all set to roll out more policies to help India achieve its economic goals and serve as a role model for other states.

Here is a glimpse of the grand summit…

Punamchand Parmar
Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare
Department, Government of Gujarat

The population in India and across the world is growing rapidly. We have crossed the 7 billion mark and may cross the 8 billion mark in near future.

Our life expectancy at the time when pyramids were built in Egypt was around 40 years and also when we became an independent nation our life expectancy was very low. But now as the life expectancy in the world is reaching 75-80 years, India is also reaching that level.

But as the life expectancy is increasing the number of diseases is also increasing. Food and pharma go together. In ancient times, food was our pharma. Indian kitchens were at the centre of this because of the food ingredients we use. For example, black pepper we use in our food is a very good anti-oxident and improves our immunity. British came to India in search of this spice.

In the name of leading a good quality life, we have changed our food habits and by changing the taste of our tongue we are spoiling our health. As a result the kitchen, which acted as a very powerful healthcare centre at the home, has been disturbed and it has been replaced by pharma products. Still, they both are our friends.”

Dr Hemant G Koshia
Commissioner, Food and Drug Control Administration,
Government of Gujarat

Gujarat is known for its pharmaceutical industry. The state is the ‘Pharma Capital of the Nation’. There are more than 4,000 licensed pharma manufacturers and around 37,000 retail pharmacies in Gujarat. It is also the hub of the food processing industry of the country. We have around 2.5 lakh food business operators in the state.

Gujarat is known for ease of doing business. We have done a series of biannual events like Vibrant Gujarat and Global Investors Summit. Through these events, the Government of Gujarat is promoting different segments and inviting investors to do business here.

Gujarat is a very fertile land from business perspective. As a regulator and as part of the government it is our duty to ensure the citizens get safe food and pharmaceuticals through implementation of the Food Regulatory Act in Gujarat. For the food sector, we have the Food Standards Act, and for the pharma sector, we have the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

We work in very close collaboration with industry regulators like USFDA, MHRA of UK. A lot of medicines being manufactured in Gujarat are exported. One-third of the national production of drugs happens in Gujarat and almost 28 per cent of the pharma products are exported to about 175 countries around the world.

Gujarat has 109 years of legacy in producing drugs. The state is the largest producer of antibiotic drug Ethambutol and the world’s 70 per cent of Isoniazid is produced in Gujarat.

The state is an emerging hub for medical devices manufacturing as well. It is a leading producer of cardiac stents and implants. The country’s 50 per cent of orthopediciol intraocular lenses are produced here.

Both food and pharma are the technology driven industry. Both are innovative industries. There is a lot of science involved in the day-to-day running of these industries.”

V R Shah
Deputy Commissioner, Food & Drugs Control
Administration, Government of Gujarat

There are more people alive today than have ever died. There are 7 billion people living on earth and we are growing rapidly. What it means is that today there are more opportunities for everyone to grow. All the 7 billion people need food, shelter and healthcare.

This implies that the demand is going to multiply. Governments across the globe are making serious effort to increase the life expectancy and the quality of life index for their citizens. There is probably not a single country that doesn’t import pharmaceuticals from India. The growth of Indian pharma industry has always been a shade better than the country’s GDP. We have attained almost 1.5 times the growth of GDP.

If we look at the pharma industry, during the last decade it has made a three-fold increase with a CAGR of 17.5 per cent. Currently, the Indian pharma industry is valued at $36.5 billion and is expected to reach $55 billion by 2020. This shift has come with its own set of challenges as well as opportunities.

We cannot continue to grow tomorrow with yesterday’s policies, perspectives and the ways of doing business. Therefore, we need a stable industry-friendly policy and environment to foster growth. The Government of India has recently come up with a draft national pharma policy, which is likely to address a lot of issues.”

Dipika Chouhan
Deputy Commissioner (Food), Food and Drug Control
Administration, Government of Gujarat

“The National Food and Pharma Summit is a good initiative for the food industry. We have a lot of summits for pharma. But for the food industry, it’s the first summit organised in Gujarat. People have come to know what kind of technology we can employ to make the food products safe. I am taking a wonderful message from this summit that the food should have a good taste as well as it should be safe. For that, technology needs to be implemented by the manufacturers to offer good quality of food to the consumers.”

Geoff Wain
British Deputy High Commissioner

We are proud to be the first country to have full diplomatic representation in this state. This is right because Gujarat is very important to the UK. It is important to us politically and economically. There are 700,000 people of Gujarati-origin in the UK and, therefore, Gujarat is important for us culturally and socially as well.

We opened our office in Gujarat in 2015 and last year we opened a new British Council Cultural Centre. Earlier, we opened a bigger Visa application centre in Ahmadabad. We are making very practical investments into the state because of the special relationship we have with Gujarat and Gujratis. The UK now has 10 offices across India. We employ around 1,000 people in India. We have more staff, we have more offices in India than in any other single country anywhere in the world.

Talking about UK’s life sciences sector and the opportunities to do business with the country, he said, about 7 of the top 100 medicines in use today around the world originated from the research in the UK. We currently have 79 Nobel Prizes for contributions to medical sciences and all of the 20 biggest pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in the world are active and represented in the UK. The life sciences sector is the third largest contributor to the economic growth in the UK, accounting for 200,000 jobs with a total turnover of $59 billion.

More than three million patients have been recruited for clinical research in the UK. UK and India have been working together for a very long time to develop novel drugs and innovative product manufacturing processes. The British government is currently running a campaign for developing tomorrow’s medicines, which will make the best medicine in quality. We strongly support the ‘Make in India’ campaign of Prime Minister Modi ji. To deepen and strengthen the India- UK relationship, the UK government is promoting Make in India using the UK technology. We have some excellent success stories of Indian companies collaborating with UK companies in areas of diabetes treatment, oncology, antimicrobial resistance and vaccines.”

Dr Gaurav Dahiya
Mission Director, National Health Mission,
Government of Gujarat

Food and drugs industry is extremely important for the country. For example, in terms of maternal mortality rate, Gujarat is among the top 10 states in India. But we must aim to achieve a mortality rate of less than 10, which is the rate in Scandinavian countries. To reach that level, food and drug industry will play a major role. The infant mortality rate in Gujarat is 33. We must aim for less than 10. It is already there in Sustainable Development Goals. We are also facing a huge disease burden of tuberculosis, noncommunicable and communicable diseases.

In controlling the lifestyle linked disorder, the food and pharma industry has a big role to play. Especially, the food quality needs to be checked. Gastrointestinal diseases like acute diarrheal diseases, cholera, typhoid, bacillary dysentery and Hapatitis A and E are directly linked to the food industry.

In anti-tubercular therapy, the treatment takes too long. The pharma industry can do a lot in making the duration of treatment shorter for a person suffering from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

There are many diseases like influenza and swine flu. We can new inventions and R&D has to be promoted because virus changes with time. For example, in influenza virus there is antigenic drift and antigenic shift. If the genotype of the virus changes slightly then there is antigenic drift and if the genotype of the virus changes totally then there is antigenic shift.

So, the virus is changing constantly and the anti-viral drug that is affecting the virus has to change accordingly. Likewise, to fight against microbial organisms like bacteria, virus, protozoa these need to be monitored by the pharma industry with the support of R&D.”

Dr Pallavi Darade
Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration,
Government of Maharashtra

The pharmaceutical industry in India is robust and thriving. The annual turnover of the industry in 2015-16 was about 200,000 crores and the exports were worth about 11 lakh crores. The domestic consumption was around 98,000 crores. The Indian pharma sector is largely fuelled by exports and is the third largest foreign exchange earner for India. It employs about 200,000 work force across the value chain. It is a private investment driven industry and the contribution of the Public Sector Undertakings is literally negligible.

Indian pharma industry has the largest number of USFDA approved manufacturing facilities outside the US. Also, the plans approved under the EDQM, WHO and GMP.

I think the major concerns that are worrying the industry today is decline in the CAGR, non-adherence to quality standard norms, the growing competition from other countries, huge dependence on imports for the key starting materials as also the APIs, lack of R&D and discovery of new molecules. For all the other things, the policy matters. But adherence to quality and standards is concerning the regulatory authorities.

The pharma industry in Maharashtra constitutes almost one-third of India’s production. Till 2005, Maharashtra was the leading state in the field of pharmaceutical manufacturing and had however because of the creation of special economic zones lost its edge in some parts but has little effect on the growth of the industry in the state.

Maharashtra FDA nearly has about 18,000 crores of export industry. To further strengthen the base, it is essential to maintain quality standards of drugs and upgrade the regulatory norms. The pharma policy by the Government of India has already initiated such steps…The Schedule M of Drug and Cosmetics Rule 1945 was substituted completely by a revised Schedule M under GSR in 2001. Taking this forward, Maharashtra has made it compulsory to fill the Schedule M and submit it to the authorities. The Schedule M defines in detail the general requirements, the water system, the disposal of waste, the warehousing area, the ancillary area, the quality control area, health, clothing and sanitation of workers, etc.”

H D Shrimali
Additional Industries Commissioner
Government of Gujarat

Our State is ‘Vibrant Gujarat’. Gujarat is vibrant because of infrastructure facilities and the locational advantage of Gujarat. So, every Gujarati is always thinking about entrepreneurship and has entrepreneurship skills. Therefore, we are the growth engine of India.

Having 6 per cent of India’s geographical area and five per cent of the country’s population, Gujarat contributes 7.6 per cent to India’s GDP. Gujarat has 10 per cent of India’s factories, yet we contribute 18 per cent to India’s industrial output and more than 20 per cent to India’s exports. For FDI, we were the third largest recipient in India in 2016-17. Gujarat is the top state for green field projects.

We are handling 41 per cent of India’s export cargo through our ports. Gujarat also has the world’s largest refinery in Jamnagar, and is the world’s largest producer of castor, cumin, fanal seeds, etc. We are the world’s largest producer of processed diamonds. We have the world’s largest fully-mechanised gold terminal.

In the area of infrastructure, Gujarat has the road connectivity of around 80-90 per cent up to the level of villages. We have 1,63,153 kms of well connected surface roads in Gujarat. Our rail length is also 5,259 kms and we are going to start metro rail projects in Ahmadabad, Gandhi Nagar and Surat. Gujarat has 17 operational airports, including air strips. We have two international airports — one in Ahmadabad and another in Vadodara.

We have 47 ports, including KPT Kandala port which is one of the major ports in the country. Gujarat is a power surplus state, proving 24/7 power supply to all in the state. Our conventional power producing capacity is 20 MW. We also have a 1,20,769 kms long drinking water supply grid that aims to serve 75 per cent of Gujarat’s population.”

O P Sadhwani
Joint Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration,
Government of Maharashtra

There are two major initiatives that we have taken. The first one is that the manufacturing industry should follow good compliance practices. So, we have initiated self-compliance practice in the industries. For that, we have prepared a self compliance check list. All the dealers and manufacturers will be self-auditing themselves and sending the reports to their licensing authorities. Secondly, we have gone online for manufacturing, selling licenses. The process is totally paperless with the provision of e-sign.

The Aadhaar-based third-party verification is also available online and the dealer needs not come to our office for licensing at all. One can apply online, the papers can be uploaded online, and after looking into them and doing inspection wherever it is necessary, the manufacturer or dealer can avail the licenses online.

This will save millions of papers and the records have been digitised. This will facilitate fast retrieval of data.”

Ravindra Pratap Singh
Food Safety Commissioner, Health and Family Welfare
Department, Government of Odisha

Technology is going to play a very important role in the food and pharma sector, as well as for the regulatory authority in various ways, for example, enabling the food business operators to meet the standards that have been laid down, using technology for preparation and packaging of safe food material and also disseminating information among the consumers.

As far as regulatory authorities are concerned, technology can be used for smoothening processes. The Food Safety Authority of India has come up with a solution where the inspections can be done online on real-time basis, which will bring in a lot of transparency.

Already the online registration and licensing is in progress, which is being further improved. At the same time, addressing the issues faced by the consumers can be addressed. Also, we can resolve the training needs of the food safety personnel, upgrading their skills and employing technology in imparting online courses and other training to the food business operators.”

Hrushikesh Mohapatra
Drug Controller, Directorate of Drugs Control
Administration, Government of Odisha

The interactions between food industry people and pharma sector people and their deliberations have helped us to improve ourselves and attract food and pharma businesses towards Odisha. Odhisha is a small state and has a large consumer base in pharma. But we have very less pharma units in Odisha. Our expectation from the National Food and Pharma Summit Gujarat is that here we can find companies that can come and invest in Odisha.

We have a favourable pharma and industrial policy. We have given many incentives to our industries. In the area of ease of doing business, the Drug Control Administration in Odisha has introduced 2-3 software which will be functional in 1-2 months. We already have tested and made online another software, and we hope that all these e-governance initiatives will attract the industries to come to Odisha.”

Dr Sheetal Gupta
Senior Scientist CFTRI/ DO cum CLO, Food Safety and
Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Maharashtra

Most of us are aware that Food Safety Standards Act was passed in 2006 and implemented in 2011. Earlier, there were PFA and multiple other Acts governed by various government agencies and departments for different food products. With the implementation of Food Safety Standards Act, all food products were brought under the purview of this act. The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was established for laying down science based standards for all food items, wherein the manufacture, distribution, sale and import of all food products is regulated by this act.

The major objective of FSSAI is to ensure that safe and wholesome food is available for human consumption. In the last 5-6 years, FSSAI has framed many regulations and it is an evolving process. FSSAI is working with food businesses to come up with new regulations. Wherever there is no national standard, we are adopting standards from CODEX. We have simplified food registration and licensing system. Till now we have 30,000 central licenses, over three lakh state licenses and over 24 lakh registrations of food businesses.”

Prof Kiran Kalia
Director, National Institute of Pharmaceutical
Education & Research, Ahmedabad

Academia is an integral part of the industry because academic institutions are the one which give talented, skilled human resource – a very essential part of growth and development of any organisation. NIPER Mohali was set up long time back.

But to support the industrial growth of pharmaceutical industry, the Government of India in 2007 initiated setting up of six new NIPERs in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guahati, Rae Bareilly and Hajipur.

NIPER Ahmedabad was fortunate to have strategically best location, which is one of the reasons for its academic growth. We are presently offering seven different Masters degree courses, including Masters in Medical Devices. To ensure excellent growth of medical devices industry in Gujarat, NIPER Ahmedabad is also mandated to have a national centre for medical devices. If you want to develop medical devices, we cannot ignore the contribution of Ireland. We have an MoU with University of Galway for developing the department of medical devices at NIPER Ahmedabad.”

Biprabuddha Chatterjee
Head, R&D, Adani Wilmar Limited

The state of Gujarat is way upfront in the field of pharma as well as in food, especially in edible oils. Gujarat, particularly Saurashtra, has a very strong foothold in edible oils. Adani Wilmar Limited is the largest producer of oil not only in Gujarat but also in India. We understand that food has two very important aspects. The first is of course to provide nutrition, but also with the rise of non-communicable diseases the food has a very big role to play. Perhaps there is very distinct overlap between food and pharma industry in India because they compliment and supplement each other to a large extent.

Food has a very large role to play in our lives than we realise. The more we become careful as an industry to look after the nutritional side, safety aspect and also the ethical aspects, perhaps the dependence on pharma can be reduced to a large extent.”

Sukanya Choudhury
Vice President
Regulatory Affairs, GSK

To attain the next level of growth, we need to continue on the journey of regulatory harmonisation. In a broad sense, regulatory harmonisation refers to commonalities in technical requirements and guidelines for regulation of medicines, which basically will allow us to achieve the ultimate objective of providing high quality, effective and safe medical products to the patients in India and across the world.

In order to embark on the journey of harmonisation, there are initially lot of differences within the regulatory mechanism across all the markets. But markets today are moving towards a state of convergence and harmonisation, which is the ultimate goal.

Harmonisation is not just common documentation being created for regulatory use and the use of the industry, but also effective communication and collaboration between regulators, industry and other stakeholders like patient groups and academia to ensure the overall end goal. All this will lead to a very collaborative approach to drug registration across markets and will pave the way for mutual recognition in long term.

What we do not mean by harmonisation, which sometimes is speculated that just because something has been approved in a particular market we need to adhere to that. But it is not necessarily true. It does not mean loss of national sovereignty or autonomy in taking a decision whether a particular product is suitable for the market. Harmonisation allows sharing of information freely amongst all the regulatory authorities, and finally the decision lies with the regulatory authority depending on what is the need of that nation.”

Baiju Mehta
Managing Director, Das Pendawala

We are manufacturers of Indian sweets and namkeens. We have shops in Bhavnagar, Baroda, Surat and Ahmedabad. The Food and Pharma Summit has given us better understanding of the regulatory requirements and knowledge about the food sector. The summit is set to go a long way in helping the industry grow.”

Dr Vishal Rajgarhia
Marketing Director
Finecure Pharmaceuticals

The Gujarat Government and Gujarat FDCA are very industry friendly. Our FDCA was the first to go digital in India, which is very commendable. From the industrial growth perspective, the pharma industry is going to grow double its current size in the next four years. This doubling of the growth figure will happen mainly because of rise in lifestyle diseases, increased purchasing parity in the country and increase in awareness. However, the industry needs to provide customised solutions and remain ahead in innovation. The viruses are advancing so we need to address such issues. There are so many drugs for anaemia, but there is the problem of gastro that needs to be addressed.

Gujarat has always been ahead in innovation. We have 109 years of pharma legacy and a very good talent pool of pharma professionals. We have institutes like NIPER (National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research), Nirma, etc, and we also have autonomous bodies which work hand in hand with the industries, helping them in areas like R&D and incubation.”

Raj Mittal
Managing Partner, Honest Reveira

Technology and innovation play an important part in improving food business. Honest as a group is present in India in a big way and has recently grown in the US, Thailand and Dubai as well. Earlier, the kitchen used to be at the back but now it is coming at the front because of these new food handling methods. Restaurants are now using more hygienic ways to prepare food. Technology, hygiene and improved quality of food hold the key to the success of this industry.”

Dr Prabodh Halde
Head Regulatory Affairs, Marico Pvt Ltd

Pharma is a Rs 2 lakh crore industry, while food is a Rs 16 lakh crore industry. We have a population of 1.3 billion and every person requires three meals a day. On an average, every family purchases around Rs 3,000 worth of food every month. We have 40 crore families in India and 1.2 lakh crore is spent on food alone, which is huge. But the problem with the food industry is that we are not organised. Unlike pharma sector, where close to 99 per cent industry is in organised sector, nearly 75 per cent of food industry is in unorganised sector. The moment food industry is organised, we will be comparable to the food industry in the US or UK, where 80 per cent food processing is happening in organised sector as compared to 8.2 per cent in India.

We Indians don’t change the taste so easily. So, the next challenge for the industry would be how to use modern science in traditional food. Two types of forces are currently at work – the technology pushing forward and the market pulling backward.”

Dr Manish A Rachchh
Director (R&D) and CEO
Accuprec Research Labs Pvt Ltd

A linkage between academia and industry is required. India is the third country in terms of pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity. We supply pharma products to many countries across the world. But in terms of valuation of the industry, we are at the 13th position. The important question that arises now is where are we in terms of innovation as a country. We are in the range of 50-100 when it comes to getting ranked in innovation.

In 2010, India was at the 56th position out of 180 countries in the Global Innovation Index. The country was ranked based on its performance on 83 parameters. In 2011, we slipped to 62nd position, in 2012 to 64th, in 2013 to 66th position, in 2014 we were given 76th position, and in 2015 we further slipped to 81st rank. But fortunately, the new government at the centre has undertaken many policy changes which reversed our slip in Global Innovation Index from 81st to 66th position in 2016.

The growth rate of Chinese innovation is almost three times that of the US. Earlier, we regarded China as a manufacturing hub. Today, we are aspiring to be a manufacturing hub like China through ‘Make in India’. But we also need to innovate along with manufacturing.

In 1996, the Chinese government started 5,000 nodal centres across the country to train their industry, academia and students even at school level in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which includes patents, copyright, trademark, etc.

They realised that in 21st century we need to innovate and protect it for the world to recognise China as a technology hub. Last year, Chinese filed 8 lakh patents, while the US filed 6 lakh 20 thousand patents. Last year (2016), 48,000 patents were filed from India, which included all big companies, academic institutes like IITs, etc.”

Rajesh Gandhi
Managing Director, Vadilal Industries Ltd

Earlier, there was a serious issue that if there was .1 per cent less fat in ice cream from the standard 10 per cent then it was a crime and the minimum imprisonment was of 6 months. That draconian law has now been changed. The Gujarat officials have been very positive on many small issues like when the batch number on some packed food items is not visible or there is some manufacturing defect, they take it with a positive and supportive attitude.

Innovation and technology is a vast subject. Bitcoin has become the world’s biggest bank with no cash, Uber is the world’s largest taxi service with no vehicle of its own, Facebook is the world’s most popular media owner which creates no content and Alibaba, the world’s most valuable retailer has no inventory. When we talk about innovation, there has to be cohesiveness. The R&D people, consumer scientists and technocrats have to work together to find a solution which brings smile on the face of the customer.

Innovation in the food industry can be in areas like nutraceuticals, which can reduce the medicine intake. Then there are natural food ingredients, functional foods, organic food, frozen food, in terms of growing of vegetables — aeroponics and hydroponics are being talked about where no soil is required for growing vegetables. There are companies that are trying to grow meat in labs using algae.

Some of the packaging innovations include paper board. There is also new storage technology like ARS (Absorption Refrigeration System), which does not require human intervention.”

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