"Indian API industry has to work more on R & D investments, patent registration, and advanced supply chain management to expedite its growth in the international market"
Ashish Pruthi
Chairman Managing Director
Rajasthan Antibiotics Ltd (RAL)
Ashish Pruthi, Chairman Managing Director, Rajasthan Antibiotics Ltd (RAL) shares his views on API market in India, growth prospects, relevance of GST in pharma industry and much more in an email interaction with Mahesh Kallayil.

Could you please tell us about Rajasthan Antibiotics journey so far?

Established in 1991, the pharmaceutical company Rajasthan Antibiotics Limited (RAL) has gone on to grow from strength to strength both in size and reputation in becoming the nation's largest producer of injectable antibiotics. RAL, one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in North India and having its corporate office based out of Delhi are always on the move to develop innovative products at very competitive prices. It is also very efficiently harnessing its funds for improving manufacturing facilities and upgrading the existing R & D department.

The company has got a great clientele base not only in India but also in Europe and countries like China, Brazil, Indonesia, Bangladesh and UAE where it has already made its presence felt. The company also has set a vision for itself that it intends to generate revenue of INR 500 crores by 2020 as it continues to serve humanity chasing its endeavour of ranking right amongst the top pharmaceuticals company of the country.

Please apprise us on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) market in India?

The API industry in India is growing smoothly and as per the industry estimates; the sector is experiencing double-digit growth, i.e. - 10.76 per cent (CAGR).

How supportive has the govt been to this sector?

Pharmaceutical is one of the key sectors of the Indian Economy, and it's among the priority sectors for the Government. Both centre and state governments are supporting the industry through lenient and effective regulations, EXIM policies and trade laws.

What according to you are the trends in this market?

Compliance with current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) by USFDA, more investment on R & D activities, M & As, and getting benefits from the GST are the top trends in Indian pharma industry today.

What all things Indian API market lack to achieve an envious growth?

Indian API industry is lacking in terms of R & D investments, Patent registration, and advanced Supply Chain Management. We have to work more in these three areas to expedite the growth of the industry in the international market.

How do you plan to leverage on Make in India campaign?

We primarily focus on our core competencies, in antibiotics, and we have expertise in it.

Please tell us about antimicrobial resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is the phenomenon in which antibiotics fail to resist or kill the growth rate of bacteria that cause infection and illness in human or animal body. Our body has trillions and trillions of bacteria inside us. These bacteria's are very helpful in some of the body's important processes such as digestion and immunity.

How do you perceive the booming export business in injectable antibiotics? How you plan to reap the benefit from it?

RAL is the first company in India that has produced Ampicillin Sodium Sterile, RAL-Life also pioneered the manufacturing of Sterile Anti-Ulcer drugs namely Omeprazole Sodium Sterile and Pantaprazole Sodium Sterile for which it has won worldwide acceptance. RAL believes in time management, total quality management and above all solutions development; simply these are the factors which differentiate RAL from others and motivate its team to deliver the best results

May we have your take on GST in pharma industry?

Both consumers and industry players expect that GST will bring mutual benefits and with reduced complexities and an overall reduction in cost, GST translates to be a profitability and promising development.

What are your policies to Compete with Competitors?

We are leaders in Ampicillin Sodium Sterile and Sterile Anti-Ulcer drugs, with our state-of-the-art infrastructure and R & D facilities, we are making substantial efforts to retain our leadership position.

Availability of substandard lowquality substitutes is a main threat to API market. How, according to you, this can be curbed?

Strict regulations and timely quality audits of the pharmaceutical companies this problem can be controlled to a greater extent.

Requirement of microbiologists in India.

Yes, to fill the gap we have to stop brain drain, and large pharma companies should also come forward to assist the education sector in terms of resource up-gradations and training of the microbiologists.

How do you see the technological advancement in Injectable drug delivery?

We need to work hard more to control cost.

Could you give us an overview of antibiotics abuse in India and other countries?

It is out of the purview of our goals and scope. It's the duty of police and investigation departments to take corrective actions.

What are your future projects and plans?

RAL intends to raise ` 25 crores in First Tranche through the route of PE / Venture Capital for its expansion plan by setting up a New Project in Cephalosporin Segment for domestic market & Upgrading the existing R&D facilities which are duly recognised by DSIR, Government of India.

RAL is also adding 2 new Lyophilisers with higher capacities that will help in creating an additional capacity of 180 MT per annum and shall provide an incremental revenue of ` 60-70 crores p.a.The new Lyophilisers will augment the capacity by another 40-45 MT per annum.

The 2nd tranche of fundraising to the tune of ` 25 crores shall be utilised for setting up a new Oncology plant. We expect to achieve annual revenue of ` 500 Crores by 2022.