If one needs to take one name that created a much strong buzz in terms of pharmaceutical exports amidst the horrific pandemic years, India is definitely one name that nobody can miss out on. From inventing Covid-19 vaccine to exporting some much required pharmaceutical drugs to multiple countries, and that too in huge bulks; India did a remarkable job.

Indian Vaccines Against Covid-19

  • India’s first indigenously made COVID-19 vaccine happens to be Covaxin; which is an inactivated vaccine, developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s Bio-Safety Level-3 of the high containment facility zone. As per the latest data provided by the Indian government, the current production of Covaxin is estimated to be around six crore doses per month.


  • India has also successfully developed the world’s first DNA based vaccine for COVID-19 called ZyCoV-D, which happens to be an initiative by Zydus Cadila. It received the due approval of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), on August 20, 2021. The interim results of the third phase clinical trials of this drug showed primary efficacy of 66.6% against symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases.

India’s Buzzing With Bulks of Pharma Exports Across the Globe 

Pharmaceutical manufacturers in India exponentially increased exporting essential drugs as a way of contributing to the global war against the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of the fiscal year of 2020.

  • As per a report prepared by Crisil, Indian formulation rose 18% while the bulk drug exports rose 9% on year during H1 FY21. During the full previous fiscal, the exports of formulation rose 11% and that of bulk drugs contracted by 1%.

The main driving force behind such numbers is definitely a spike in the demand of various core and allied pharma products, which was a result of the hoarding of supplies by some nations in the wake of production disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But apart from that another significant reason for the increased demand for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from India, is the gradual tendency of customer diversification which is moving away from China; while some countries switching on to the policy of ‘China plus one’.

Adding on to this, several Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers in India have also inked agreements with Gilead Sciences to manufacture and export Remdesivir.

Researches state that Chinese supply disruptions in the early 2020 coupled with persistent quality issues paved the way for Indian pharma companies as India was taken as an alternative supplier of bulk drugs. Moreover, the Indian API exporters also successfully generated desired figures on their exports during H1 FY21; while exporters of both formulations and bulk drugs maintained about 7 to 8% year-on-year growth rate.

As time passed, the lockdown restrictions got eased out; coupled with a revamp in specialty products, and biosimilar drugs took up a significant place in terms of India’s pharma exports.

Although there was an initial hesitation in exporting certain drugs, India did provide the world with critical drugs like hydroxychloroquine, paracetamol as well as azithromycin. Indian pharma exporters reached out to over 20 countries, joining hand in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Countries India Exported Pharmaceuticals in Bulks Amidst Pandemic

  • USA
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Bahrain
  • Nepal
  • Bhutan
  • Afghanistan
  • Maldives
  • Bangladesh
  • Seychelles
  • Mauritius
  • Dominican Republic
  • Israel
  • Canada
  • UK
  • France
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Some other African countries, including South Africa


Interesting Facts and Figures of Indian Pharma Exports  

  • According to the Department of Pharmaceuticals, in 2019, the Indian pharmaceutical sector contributed around 2% to India’s GDP.


  • Adding to that the allied concerns of pharmaceuticals like healthcare, medical technology, and biotechnology, generated huge employment opportunities in the country.


  • The pharmaceutical export market turnover was US$ 24.4 billion in 2020- 21, which was an 18.1% year-on-year growth.


  • Pharmaceuticals exports from India stood at US$ 20.7 billion in FY20 and reached US$ 24.4 billion in FY21.


  • The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of the exports was around 9% from 2008-09 to 2020-21.


  • In spite of the high growth, India’s current global market share by value at about 1.5% is insignificant relative to the US, which has approximately 40% of the global market share.


  • However, in terms of volume, India stands at the third position, accounting for nearly 10% of global production. This is an indication of the low prices of Indian pharmaceutical products.


  • India’s portfolio in terms of pharma exports shows that about 70% of the total exports, is in the form of drug formulations and biological and about 20% is the bulk drugs and drug intermediaries; which not only boosts production processes across the globe but also contributes to the supply of final products in the form of generics provided by the ace generic medicine manufacturers in India.


  • Generic versions of many such drugs brought by generic medicine manufacturers in India have enabled a larger market share for the country and ensured that regions such as Africa with a high incidence of diseases and low incomes had access to low-cost medications.