Hyderabad: In the testing times of Covid-19 pandemic, Hyderabad has proved its prowess in the field of pharmaceuticals and cemented its position as the vaccine capital of the world, IT Minister, KT Rama Rao on Friday said.

“We are already manufacturing more than two billion doses of vaccines every year, which is one-third of the global vaccine output. The pharma sector also made significant contributions in the ongoing battle against Covid-19 pandemic,” Rao said while addressing young graduates at the 8th convocation of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Balanagar.

The city-based pharma companies are actively involved in manufacturing lifesaving Covid-19 drugs including Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Favipiravir, etc. “We are also proud that the first indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine undergoing clinical trials is the result of intense efforts of Bharat Biotech, a Hyderabad based company,” he said.

Three more pharma companies from Hyderabad are actively engaged in the efforts to develop and manufacture Covid-19 vaccine. One of the first ICMR approved RT-PCR kits in India was from Hyderabad and since then, a number of companies have developed PCR kits, rapid test kits, viral transport mediums, reagents, tech-based diagnostics solutions etc, he said.

There is no doubt that Hyderabad has played a critical role in the Indian pharmaceutical revolution which made the country not only self-sufficient in the medicine manufacture but also made it as the pharmacy capital of the world. Hyderabad accounts for 40 per cent of the total Indian bulk drugs and 50 per cent of the bulk drug exports.

“We today have more than 800 life sciences companies and this sector employs more than 1,20,000 pharmaceutical professionals like you,” the Minister said.

Rao pointed out that the country can compete with China in the field of pharmaceuticals by building clusters such as the Hyderabad Pharma City, which is ideally placed to offer everything that it takes to ramp-up production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) within a short period of time.

The Hyderabad Pharma City will help the State government create 1,70,000 direct jobs and 5,60,000 indirect jobs. “Hyderabad is the only city in the country to house more than 20 incubation centres focused only on life sciences and health-tech. More than 200 start-ups are working on innovative solutions in healthcare and there is no dearth of capital for innovation,” he said.

The virtual convocation was attended by Dr P D Vaghela, Chairman, Apex Council, NIPERs and Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Rajneesh Tingal, Joint Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, K. Satish Reddy, Chairman, Board of Governors, NIPER Hyderabad and Chairman, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Dr. Shashi Bala Singh, Director, NIPER-Hyderabad, members of Board of Governors, Directors of NIPERs, faculty, graduates and students.

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