Tamil Nadu-based companies account for 60-70% of India’s export of pharmaceuticals to Sri Lanka, according to P V Appaji, Director General of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India.
Currently in the island to do the spade-work for setting up an Indo-Lankan export-oriented pharmaceutical manufacturing hub here, Appaji said that four of the 25 companies which were part of the Pharmexcil delegation were based in Tamil Nadu.
Speaking to Indian correspondents after talks with Lankan Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, and Deputy Minister of Commerce Jayarathna Herath, Appaji said that his team had already visited a prospective site for the manufacturing hub near Colombo airport.
India’s pharma exports to Lanka increased by 15.95% in 2011 to touch $ 126.9 million, he said. Of this, 93% were formulations, followed by bulk drugs (7%) and herbal drugs (0.15%). India accounted for 24.8% of the bulk drugs and 58 .3% of the formulations in Sri Lanka.
Noting a ‘huge gap’ between the domestic demand and supply, Secretary to Sri Lankan Ministry of Commerce Anura Siriwardene said that the Lankan pharma market was worth $190 million, with local manufacturers’ contributing $38 million to it.
“The arrival of the Indian team is a big eye opener for us. Nobody here believed that we can produce pharmaceuticals for the massive global market, but now we have realised otherwise,” said Premakumar Weyhenage, Director, Healthcare and Consumer Division of CIC Holdings.