India’s pharmaceutical exports to Latin America increased by 13% to 1108 million dollars in 2020-21 (April-March) from 962 m in 2019-20 (according to the latest data published by India’s Ministry of Commerce). This is against the backdrop of a decline of 3% in India’s total exports to the region.
Exports to Peru increased by a remarkable 86% to 128 m from 69 million in the year before.
Exports to Mexico jumped by 80% to 114 m from 64 m
Exports to Chile went up by 32% to 123 m from 93 m
Exports to Venezuela increased by 39% to 52 m from 39 m
Exports to Dominican Republic were up by 37% to 54 m from 39 m
There were modest increases in exports to Brazil (317 m from 298 m), Colombia (68 m from 65 m) and Guatemala ( 48 m from 44 m).
In the last five years, the exports to Latin America have doubled from 651 m in 2016-17.
Pharmaceuticals are now the third largest export to the region after vehicles and chemicals.
Exports to USA
India’s pharma exports to USA went up by 13% to 7.2 billion dollars in 2020-21 from 6.3 bn in 2019-20. USA continues to be the # 1 market for India’s pharma exports which have gone up by four times in the last decade from 1.8 bn in 2010-11.
India’s global exports of pharma showed an even more impressive increase of 19% to 19.4 billion dollars in 2020-21 from 16.3 bn in 2019-20.
Pharmaceutical exports have been on a steady trajectory of increase in the last two decades moving up from just 945 million dollars in 2000-01 and 6.6 billion dollars in 2010-11.
Pharmaceutical exports were #3 in the ranking of India’s global exports after diesel (26.8 bn) and diamonds (26.1 bn), up from the 8th position in 2010-11 and 14th position in 2000-01.
But both diesel and diamond exports involve large imports of raw materials namely crude and raw diamonds which account for over 80% of the exports after refining and cutting and polishing. In the case of Pharma, imports of raw materials are about 32 % of total requirements while the rest is produced in India itself. So the absolute value derived from Pharma exports is much more than from the exports of diesel and diamonds.
It is time for the government of India to recognize this growing importance of pharma exports and formulate long term strategies for further growth.
Pharma is one of the few export items in which India is ahead of China with competitive strength and solid reputation. China’s exports in 2020 were 13 billion dollars. China ranked 13th, behind India’s 11th position in global Pharma exports. However, China is the world’s largest supplier of Pharma raw materials.
India has been recognized as a “Pharmacy of the Global South”, with its pharmaceutical industry ranking third largest in the world in terms of medicines produced by volume. India accounts for 20% of global generic medicine exports by volume and supplies over 50% of global demand for vaccines.