Gujarat: The Home of Indian Pharma


The state of Gujarat proudly stands as India’s main pharmaceutical hub, accounting for over 33 percent of the country’s pharmaceutical turnover and 28 percent of its pharmaceutical exports.  Given the tremendous importance of the Indian industry globally, this state therefore emerges as a pharmaceutical hub of global importance.


For Gujarati people, pharmaceuticals are in their DNA

Nitin Shah, Unison Pharmaceuticals

Gujarat’s history of manufacturing fine chemicals and pharmaceutical products actually goes back more than 110 years. Furthermore, the LM College of Pharmacy in Ahmedabad was established in 1947 – the year marking the independence of India – and therefore stands as the oldest pharmacy institute in the country,” posits Dr Hemant Koshia, commissioner of the FDCA Gujarat, the state’s regulatory authority.


It is also the home of the Sarabhai Group, one of the first integrated pharmaceutical giants in India. “For Gujarati people, pharmaceuticals are in their DNA. People who have grown up in our state are very familiar with the pharmaceutical sector, which stands as one of Gujarat’s main industries,” explains Nitin Shah, founder and chairman of Unison Pharmaceuticals.


The numbers speak for themselves: Gujarat today gathers together over 4,000 manufacturing licensees and industry heavyweights such as Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Zydus Cadila, Intas, and Dishman are headquartered in the state. Furthermore, Gujarat alone accounts for over 40 percent of the country’s CRAM companies and CROs.


In terms of the reasons for this clusterization, Mohal Sarabhai of ASENCE Group notes that “First and foremost, Gujarat holds extremely good universities, especially in the pharmaceutical and medical fields, and infrastructure as well as a great labor force. Furthermore, it has become increasingly difficult for the company heads to bolster a healthy dialogue with labour unions in the state of Maharashtra (where Mumbai is located) and in Northern India (where Delhi is located). Moreover, land is easily available and reasonably priced in Gujarat, which marks a true advantage in comparison to the aforementioned states.”


“In this vein, the government of India announced in October 2016 the establishment of three pharmaceutical and healthcare clusters in our state: an API-Active Pharma Ingredients Park, a formulations hub and a medical devices cluster. Furthermore, India’s first national government medical devices laboratory will also be established in Gujarat,” reveals Koshia.


Another important factor in Gujarat’s success is the fact that between 2001 and 2014, the state had a very dynamic chief minister – Narendra Modi – who ascended to the position of prime minister in 2014. This has contributed to raising the state’s international profile and attractiveness through the biennial investors’ summit, ‘Vibrant Gujarat,’ which makes it easier for Gujarati entrepreneurs and CEOs to convince international partners of their state’s investment potential.


Finally, one should not overlook Gujarat’s long-standing experience in business and international trade. “Gujarati are reputed across India for their business mindset and their entrepreneurial drive – whether it relates to the pharma industry or to any other industries. An eye-catching number of India’s entrepreneurs are actually Gujarati,” explains Unison’s Nitin Shah.


“From my perspective this aspect has been nurtured by historical factors: most of North Gujarat is very arid, unlike the rest of the country where the wonderful climate has favoured the development of agriculture. This scarcity of natural resources in that part of our state has historically strengthened the importance of trade as a mean of survival, forcing Gujaratis to become entrepreneurs and outstanding businessmen to sustain their families,” considers Sarabhai.


“Business is part of our culture, and this is a great asset in driving our state’s pharmaceutical industry to new heights,” concludes Shah.

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