India’s government has approved an initiative intended to make the country a global manufacturing hub for bulk drugs and medical devices. Initial funding for the project is ₹137.6 billion ($1.8 billion)—₹99.4 billion for bulk drugs and ₹38.2 billion for medical devices. The announcement came after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down manufacturing facilities and exports from China, where India gets much of its supply of key starting materials, drug intermediates, and active pharmaceutical ingredients. India’s effort will involve building three bulk-drug manufacturing parks in the next 5 years, each of which will have solvent recovery, distillation, and effluent treatment plants. In addition, the government will pay domestic drug manufacturers a 20% bonus on sales of 53 drugs deemed critical to the country. The government also plans to build four medical device manufacturing parks. The initiative—which India calls a production-linked investment scheme—will be implemented by a project management agency selected by the Department of Pharmaceuticals. The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, a trade group, welcomed the announcement, saying in a statement that the plan would promote health-care security in India.
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This story was updated on April 21, 2020, to correct the name of the trade group. It is the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, not the Indian Pharmaceutical Association.