NEW DELHI: India has requested China to allow imports of Indian drugs cleared by the drug administrators of the United States, European Union and Japan, as China recognises these approvals. It has also sought a special price category for Indian generics so that they don’t compete with branded products.
Almost 1,500 Indian products have obtained clearances from the food and pharmaceutical regulators of the US, EU and Japan, but only 535 are registered with China and can be sold there.
“Our pharma export to China is a pittance. We have requested if China FDA (food and drug administration) could give suo motu registration to companies cleared by the US, EU and Japan because it recognises these,” an official told ET on condition of anonymity. “We want our generics in a special price category so that we don’t get into competition with branded products.”
Though India is the world’s largest supplier of generic medicines, with 20-22% share of global exports, it exported pharma products worth a meagre $41.07 million to China in 2017-18 and only $26.1 million in the first half of the current financial year. Commerce department officials have said that India’s share in China’s pharma imports is merely 1%.
Another issue that India has raised with China pertains to multiplicity of approvals as every Chinese province has different prices and rules for pharmaceutical imports.
India has, therefore, also sought a waiver of local provincial approvals for Chinese companies which import Indian generic injectable drugs. The provincial clearance is required even after the CFDA nod.
The move is aimed at increasing exports of pharmaceuticals to China and reduce the trade deficit. India’s exports to China amounted to $33 billion in 2017-18 while imports from the country were more than double that at $76.2 billion. Indian industry has cited non-tariff barriers such as complicated procedures that hinder pharma exports to China. “We have requested again for familiarity of forms. We need clarity and handholding because their process is long, tedious and cumbersome,” the official said.