Updated on 9 June 2015
China's largest pharmaceutical company, Sinopharm has been present in India through some of its products distributed for more than 15 years. However, the presence was strengthened when Sinopharm India Pvt Ltd was incorporated and opened its office in New Delhi, in January 2013. Now Sinopharm India has sets its sights high for the fast-growing India pharmaceutical market. Sinopharm India's Managing Director, Mr Alan Lear and the parent company's DGM for international trade, Mr Kevin Yuan, shared some of the future plans for the India market with Group Editor of BioSpectrum, Mr Narayanan Suresh, in an exclusive conversation in Shanghai in mid-May 2015 during The Health Industry Summit (THIS), organized by Reed Sinopharm: Excerpts:
What has been the experience of Sinopharm in the India market so far?
Alan: Though we have been distributing our products in India for nearly 15 years, it was only in January 2013 that we set up our own office with strong presence in New Delhi. We have supplying a range of biological vaccines made by our partner companies for many years. One of our leading products supplied to India is the Japanese Encephalitis(JE) vaccine to prevent the outbreak of this deadly disease in many states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam. In fact, since 2006, we have supplied more than 170 million doses of JE vaccine to the Indian market and help reduce the burden of this disease significantly.
Kevin: In fact, in April 2015, India government requested us to supply more doses of the vaccine for its adult immunization project to prevent JE in the state of Assam. We supplied the vaccine at the lowest cost in the world to the government.
Any more new products in the pipeline for the Indian market?
Alan: Sinopharm India is in the process of seeking registration for six new products in the country very soon. We are getting ready to launch our hepatitis B vaccine in India at the earliest. Another exciting product will be injectable intravenous human globulin which has been submitted to the Indian regulator, DCGI, for approval. We will be bringing a large portfolio of our blood products to the Indian market in the near future.
Do you have any plans to manufacture any of these products in India itself?
Alan: We are in discussion with some Indian companies to manufacture some of our products within the country itself. It may happen through the joint venture route and we may have some good news on this front soon.
What about the API ( active pharmaceutical ingredient) business between both countries?
Alan and Kevin: It is a two way business process. Sinopharm and its 11 subsidiaries and associate companies do a lot of business in API, intermediaries, vaccines and blood products. A lot of APIs in key areas like antibodies, antivirals, cardiovascular diseases, anti-cancer intermediaries, gastro intestinal disease are supplied to Indian companies. At the same time, Sinopharm imports a wide range of specialized APIs from Indian manufacturers.
Will Sinopharm take some India-made products to the Chinese market too ?
Kevin: Definitely. We are looking into this aspect. Currently, as the largest pharmaceutical group, we supply more than 3,000 products to the hospitals in China. Our products reach efficiently more than 90 per cent of the hospital network in the country. We promote efficient distribution and we are looking at ways to utilize this network even better with more products.