Scrapping ‘Pharma City’ a death blow to pharma industry growth in Telangana

1/3rd of the global vaccines are produced in Telangana, 50% of India’s bulk drug exports are from Telangana, 40% of India’s bulk drug production are from Telangana, and in the last two years, the life sciences sector in Telangana has grown at the rate of 23 percent while the national average has been around 14 percent. These facts and figures elucidate how Telangana has emerged as a life sciences and pharma hub in the last 9+ years during the BRS rule under the leadership of KCR. However, the Congress government’s latest move to scrap the Pharma City project will put the state’s life sciences industry growth at a serious risk.

Telangana houses more than 1000 life sciences companies and accounts for a combined value of USD 80 billion. The BRS Government under the leadership of KCR had envisioned making Telangana the leading Life Sciences hub in Asia through innovation-driven and tech enabled growth, while increasing the sectoral value to USD 250 Billion by 2030.

The investor-friendly atmosphere and conducive ecosystem has enabled a robust growth of the pharma sector in the state. Telangana has attracted over Rs. 20,000 crore (USD 3 billion) investments in the life sciences sector in the past seven years and generated around 4.5 lakh jobs. The total value of the pharma and life sciences ecosystem in Telangana has touched USD 80 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 30 billion by 2025. The successful tenure of former Industries Minister KTR and his proactive efforts have ushered in a golden era for life sciences in Telangana.

All this was made possible with a multi-pronged and dedicated approach to solidify Telangana’s position as global pharma hub. In addition to developing the existing Genome valley, BRS Government had initiated the world’s largest integrated pharma cluster also known as the Hyderabad Pharma City, which the current Congress government has decided to scrap. To establish a strong life sciences ecosystem, the earlier government has also constructed the country’s largest medical devices park which houses Asia’s largest coronary stent manufacturing facility.

Envisaged on the concept of work, live, learn and play, Hyderabad Pharma City was supposed to offer integrated cluster and benefits through economy of scale and helps cost optimization for tenant industries. This establishment was conceptualised including bulk drug manufacturing facilities, R&D centres, incubation hubs, university, residential and social infrastructure, warehouses, allied and ancillary units, etc. In a proposed area of 19,000 acres, the environmentally cleared cluster has an investment potential of USD 9.7 billion with a potential to generate over 5 lakh direct jobs.

The previous government had toiled hard to make this integrated ecosystem a reality. The facility is environmentally clean with Zero Liquid Discharge and plans were afoot to move all the polluting pharma companies within Hyderabad to this Pharma City soon. Despite several hurdles, over the years, the BRS government has convinced the local youth and farmers and gradually pooled the land required for this prestigious project.

However, all the good work was undone with one hasty and ill-conceived decision by the Congress government. The new regime has decided to scrap the project all together and build a real estate township instead. Already, many global companies have evinced their interest to operate from the facility and the Congress’s decision will hurt the investor’s confidence big time and put the state in bad light.

Telangana contributes 40 per cent of India’s pharma production and it is the only region in the world to have more than 200 FDA approved sites for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Any attempt to stall this progress will be a grave injustice to the state’s bright future and also to lakhs of youngsters looking for employment. A golden chance to cement Telangana’s position as global life sciences hub has been lost permanently!