India to Reduce Dependence on Imports of API

Prelims level : Economy Mains level : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
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India is taking several steps to reduce its dependence on imports of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), a commonly used raw material for drugs, by manufacturing it within the country.


  • Domestic drug manufacturers, which mostly import APIs from China, has seen a sharp spike in the prices of these raw materials after the Chinese government shut down many API producing plants owing to environmental concerns.
  • This had prompted pharmaceutical lobby group to demand for hike in prices of medicines that are currently under the price control.
  • The fourth international conference on pharmaceuticals and medical devices-‘India Pharma 2019 & India Medical Devices 2019’
  • Currently, domestic pharmaceutical industry is valued at over $34 billion with half of the earnings coming from exports. India is also one of the leading producers of generic drugs in the world.

What is API?

  • The aforementioned API is the primary ingredient. Other ingredients are commonly known as “excipients” and these substances are always required to be biologically safe, often making up a variable fraction of the drug product.
  • Active pharmaceutical ingredients or APIs can be defined as the chemicals used to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs.
  • The active ingredient (AI) is the substance or substances that are biologically active within the drug and is the specific component responsible for the desired effect it has on the individual taking it. Any drug or medication is composed of two components. The first is the API – which is the central ingredient.
  • The second is known as the excipient, which is the inactive substance that serves as the vehicle for the API itself.
  • If the drug is in a syrup form, then the excipient is the liquid that has been used to make it as such.
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