NEW DELHI: India’s imports of pharmaceutical products from China has reached USD 1.74 billion during April-December 2015, Parliament was informed today.

In 2014-15, it stood at USD 2.22 billion as against USD 2.11 billion in 2013-14.

India imports drugs and pharmaceutical products from China in the form of raw materials as well as finished products for both domestic consumption and exports.

As per the reports available, in case of 12 essential drugs including Paracetamol and Amoxicillin “there is a significant dependence on imports of drug ingredients and substantial imports of these products are from China”.

“One of the reasons for imports from China is the price competitiveness of these products,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

An inter-ministerial committee has suggested that the API industry (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient industry) has to be made more viable and there is a need for building up an ecosystem to promote investment in the sector based on global practices.

There are also recommendations for improving the regulatory regime in the country, the minister said.

In a separate reply she said, India’s pharmaceutical exports stood at USD 5 billion during April-February 2016 to the US followed by USD 555 million to South Africa and USD 512 million to the UK.

The total exports during April-February 2016 stood at USD 15.36 billion.