The Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers is mooting some remedial steps to rescue the country's pharmaceutical industry which is reeling under the pressure of the global economic meltdown.

The department is planning to join hands with other concerned departments including the Department of Commerce to bring in a plan to tackle the issues faced by the Indian pharma exporters due to the global recession and the consequent fall in demands, said Ashok Kumar, secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Government of India. He was presenting his keynote address as the chief guest of the 47th annual day celebrations of Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA).

The department noticed that though the recession has not affected the Indian pharma industry like in other industries, there is a fall or loss in exports and delay in payment for consignments already despatched.

"The discussions will be to identify the specific issues across the sector, how to go about it in collaboration with the industry. We are looking at options to improve liquidity and try to see the other implications in collaboration with the CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy)," Ashok Kumar told Pharmabiz. The department also has options to help the companies in marketing their products in various countries, where the import laws and duties are unique, he added.

The department, which has recently initiated short term education courses in collaboration with National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs) to generate quality manpower, is also engaged in environment management and disaster management guidance to the pharma industry. The environment management cell, to disseminate information on going green to reduce global warming, will conduct its first seminar at New Delhi on 30 January, 2009.

Dr A K Banerjee, chairman of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, who delivered his views as the Guest of Honour in the meeting, asked industry support to implement the pricing rules intact. The authority is ready to pay heed to the demands of industry and is working on methods to help the pharma industry in pricing issues, he added. The industry should implement the self regulations on marketing ethics to reduce unexpected expenditure at these high times. The industry has to provide necessary information, sought by NPPA, which are otherwise inaccessible through public domain, for the authority to understand the real issues better, he added.

In his address, outgoing IDMA president B N Singh requested the NPPA to simplify the procedure for submitting information on the company details so that more manufacturers can submit the required data in time prior to revision of CC, PC and PL norms and packaging material costs.

The IDMA will continue its efforts to enhance the standards of manpower in the industry and will initiate efforts to bring in all the pharma associations in a single platform for common issues, said N R Munjal, new president, IDMA and the vice-chairman, Indo-Swift Laboratories. The guests also gave away the IDMA awards for the best performance in various fields of the industry on the occasion.