NEW DELHI: China accounted for 66 percent of India's total bulk drug imports in 2016-17 at Rs 12,254.97 crore, Parliament was informed today.
Bulk drug import from the neighbouring nation stood at Rs 13,853 crore in 2015-16, accounting for 65.2 percent of the total import, Union Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.
Citing data from DGCIS Kolkata, he said total bulk drug imports in 2016-17 stood at Rs 18,372.54 crore.
"The imports are mainly done for economic consideration and there are various manufacturers who could substitute in case of interrupted supply from China," the minister said when asked if interrupted supply from the country could lead to drug shortage in India.
Stating that various measures have been taken to reduce imports, Mandaviya said the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) on February 7, 2018, approved a scheme for development of pharmaceutical industry under which one of the components is financing common facilities in bulk drug parks.
"This would help in reducing the cost of production and result in the better availability of cheaper medicines for patients," he added.
Moreover, in January 2016, the government had withdrawn exemption in customs duties which were earlier given to certain categories of bulk drugs to help domestic manufacturers, the minister said.
"Further, the government has removed bottlenecks in environment clearance etc, which the manufacturers are facing, in order to boost domestic manufacturing of bulk drugs," Mandaviya, the minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers said.