December 2015

Pharma Sector Needs Growth

West Bengal needs to focus on pharma market. The State shared more than 80 per cent of the national drug production in pre-independence era, which is currently at eight per cent informs Dr Chintamoni Ghosh, Director of Drugs Control, Government of West Bengal to Elets News Network (ENN)


The Indian pharma market is foreseeing significant growth opportunities; the industry is trying to sustain a robust growth rate of 15–20 per cent by 2020. In order to meet the requirements, the state government and pharmaceutical companies needs to adopt new business models.

West Bengal being one of the oldest and probably the largest public health and government hospital-based healthcare delivery infrastructure and network, needs more focus on the pharma industry. In the immediate pre-independence era (1940), the Pharmaceutical industries of Bengal shared more than 80 per cent of the national drug production that has gradually been reduced to less than 8 per cent today.

Health remains primarily a State subject. Although health policy and drug policy are formulated and revised periodically by the Government of India (GoI), the major responsibility of their implementation lies with the state governments.


Dr Chintamoni Ghosh
Director of Drugs Control, Government of West Bengal

West Bengal Promulgates Free Medicine

In the state a large number of population avail the government service and enjoy the access ofdrugs that constitute an integral part of healthcare. West Bengal is probably the pioneer state in India in promulgating free distribution of drugs concept for patients in all government health facilities. Recently with view to expensive treatment cost for cancer and lifestyle diseases like cardiac and diabetes, State Government has declared to make available such medicine in health facilities free of cost.

West Bengal is one of the few states in India where the vendors are selected to supply the drugs through e-tendering process only to keep it transparent. The drugs are procured with generic name and International Non-proprietary Name (INN) on decentralised process. A carefully selected list of items, called Central Medical Store (CMS) catalogue, much akin to the Essential Drugs List (EDL) of World Health Organisation (WHO) is the basis for such procurement.

Digitised Drug Distribution

Procurement, planning and monitoring procurement performance of the medicines are fully software based, it’s overseen by State Health Information Management System (SIMS) throughout the State as a part of e-governance programme. The system being user friendly, a large number of Indian manufacturers including multinationals are participating in this tender process. As a part of promoting the industrial sector in the state, the government has introduced purchase preference policy in tender documents for State based Small Scale Industries involved in drugs manufacturing. Yet, people’s access to essential medicine has remained far from satisfactory. There is a lot of scope for Pharmaceutical Industry to be involved in drugs procurement system in government hospitals in West Bengal.

Advantages of Pharma Industry in West Bengal

  • Potential market with a targetlarge population in the eastern and North Eastern states
  • Through successful implementation of Land reforms, the rural economy has developed resulting in increase of purchasing power
  • Prime medical facility in Kolkata, Durgapur and Siliguri for patient from neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan
  • NIPER campus is established in the state
  • A proposed Pharma Manufacturingzone and Chemical Hub
  • Special Export Processing Zone(SEPZ) at Falta
  • NPPA-CIFG in Kolkata forredressing the grievances ofconsumer
  • Biotech Policy is declared
  • Country’s main Patent office inKolkata
  • Abundance of Professionallyequipped Technical Personnel
  • The state government is adoptinga number of policy measures in order to accelerate the growth of the pharmaceutical industry & to make it internationally competitive

Domestic-MarketAim and Goal of State Policy inHealth Sector:

  • To promote rational use ofmedicines
  • To facilitate rationalpharmaceutical management ingovernment health facilities
  • To foster growth and sustainability of state level pharmaceutical industries (not sacrificing people’s health goals and rights)
  • To ensure compliance of drug legislations / regulations and quality assurance

The State Drugs Control Authority is entrusted with the regulatory mandate for availability of quality drugs with affordable price. Harvesting and integrating the drugs control activities in best interest of people is a priority commitment of Government of West Bengal. A strong motivation within the pharmaceutical industry is now required to regain its lost pride and position. The driving factors, however, remain as availability of skilled manpower and phyto-chemicals, raw materials and access to different global regions through East.


Domestic Market

The industry has enormous growthpotential. Factors listed below determine the rising demand for pharmaceuticals.

  • The large population of over of a billion
  • Increasing income capacity
  • Demand for quality healthcare
  • Change in disease patterns
  • Increased demand for new medicines to combat lifestyle related diseases.

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