Pharma exports grew a shade better to $25.39 bn in FY23 

Growth came despite increase in raw material and freight cost, aid agencies continuing to maintain focus on COVID: Pharmexcil Director General 

April 14, 2023 08:14 pm | Updated 08:14 pm IST - HYDERABAD

India’s pharmaceutical exports totalled $25.39 billion in FY23, a shade better than the previous fiscal but short of the $27 billion target as headwinds, including impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, hampered the pace of growth.

Compared to $24.6 billion in 2021-22, this was a more than a 3% increase and came in the face of higher raw material prices, more outgo on freight and the continued focus of global aid agencies on COVID, Pharmexcil Director General Ravi Udaya Bhaskar said.

Export of vaccines, in value terms, showed a decline of about 80% with non-governmental and aid agencies which procure medicines and vaccines for distribution to beneficiaries in low-income countries channelling most funds for COVID work. This translated into a lower offtake of other vaccines, especially those used as part of universal inoculation programme, and drugs, including those for HIV and tuberculosis he said.

Negative growth in the important market of Africa, on account of an economic slowdown, as well as in the CIS countries, primarily in Russia on account of the war and sanctions, were key factors that weighed in on the performance. An increase in raw material costs and withdrawal of GST exemption on ocean and air freight charges were among the headwinds despite which pharma exporters clocked year on year growth.

North America, especially the U.S., continued to be the top market with the latter contributing to more than one-third of the total exports, followed by Belgium, South Africa, U.K., Brazil and Russia, Mr.Bhaskar said, adding that granular details for the full fiscal are yet awaited. In terms of total vaccine exports, it was $334 million for the 11 months till February. In FY22, vaccine exports were at $532 million.

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