Indian industry asks Modi to press for access to China's drug market

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Just ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week, a major India business organization urged him to press his China counterpart to make it easier for drugmakers to enter the country's vast market.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) urged the stance in a memorandum sent to Modi, who was set to meet with China Premier Xi Jinping as part of a three-day visit beginning Thursday.

The CII memo offered one specific item to bring up: establish an India office for China's State FDA in the same way the U.S. FDA set up an office for direct inspection of drugmaker facilities.

China Premier Xi Jinping

The organization also suggested Modi convince China to recognize international approvals, such as those by the United States and United Kingdom, in reviewing India drugmaker products seeking approval in China. It suggested such a speeded review be put into place particularly for specific molecules not available in China.

The memo promoted India industry as a whole, with specific emphases on certain sectors such as pharmaceutical and information technology. It said India's trade deficit with China reached $48 billion for the fiscal year just ended.

CII said that since China remains one of the world's fastest-growing markets, India's trade deficit would only get wider if steps are not taken now to remove barriers.

For pharmas, the note said, China's multistep approval, registration, pricing, tender and hospital procurement processes are daunting and need to be modified to reduce the time and expense involved in regulatory compliance.

- here's the release from CII