25 Million vaccinations in a day, that’s a feat only few countries can imagine to achieve & India did it on 17th September 2021 the birthday of our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The weekly average before the big day was somewhere around 6 to 7 Mn jabs. On 18th September a day after the total number of jabs administered were more than 8 Mn, not at all bad. The overall vaccinations done by India are over 800 Mn. In history of mankind such vaccination drive is unheard of.

The questions is how has India achieved this momentous number. How the vaccines were made available?

This miracle was made possible by the pharma capacities that have been developing in India since liberalisation in 1991. Pharmaceuticals was one of the prominent sectors that took advantage of the liberalised economy early & foreign investments started flowing in thick & fast. At the start of the 21st century, India already had a good share of global API market with more industries coming into specialities & high end drug market. The opening of private hospitals & affordability of the people to good health care augmented the growth of the Industry

Industrial capacity building is a long process; it takes years for a company to install & ensure the running of the industrial capacity.  There are many industries in India wherein, we do not have enough capacity to supply the domestic market & we can forget to export & serve the International markets.

Fortunately in pharmaceuticals it has been the other way round, we had enough capacity to serve International & Domestic markets, Vaccine production capacity was also growing due to easy access & affordability of medicines  At the start of the Covid pandemic India was producing 60% of the global vaccines & it is uncommon to have such installed capacity in one country.

To elucidate the concept of capacity, we evaluate the global textile industry

Country% of the global market share
Source: UN comtrade, Televisory’s analysis

The textile Industry is labour intensive & is a potential to generate lot of jobs in a low labour cost country like India, the Goverments did not gave heed to the demands of the industry & exemption on the raw material import duty, the primary responsibility of the Government is to facilitate the Industry & remove hurdles in its supply chain. But the earlier governments never paid any heed &  most of the Indian companies moved to Bangladesh & established the factories. So our ignorance is others gain. Now it is difficult for the industries to relocate to India & re-establish facilities & it is a big cost. Hence Government of India has issued a PLI scheme for the textiles. Though the scheme is issued now, the actual industry set up, running & achieving sales on full capacity is a long process that takes years.

This fortunately was achieved by our pharma industry long back & hence the capacity also ensures that the supply of the regular & critical drugs is also not affected.

This pace will ensure that by the end of this fiscal, the entire vulnerable population of India will be fully vaccinated & the kids vaccination will also start keeping pace as soon as the relevant drugs are in the market with approvals of ICMR.

China also boasts of the capacity in Pharmaceuticals just like India, but the Chinese drugs for Covid did not had desired effects as been reported by most of the countries & hence Indian vaccine will be the only way forward for the third world countries. Everyone is waiting for India to start the vaccine supplies, but the priority for India will be first protect its citizens & then will share the vaccines with the world

India has been called the pharmacy of the world on so many occasions & this pharmacy today has proved to be the life saver for Indians. On drug innovations, The Government still have a work to do on Patent Laws & companies to start investing in innovations, its a discussion to take forward & apply lessons of pandemic to the next industrial policy in healthcare sector

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