India Becomes Russia’s Leading Pharmaceutical Supplier Amid Western Withdrawal: Report

Feature and Cover India Becomes Russia's Leading Pharmaceutical Supplier Amid Western Withdrawal Report

India has emerged as the primary pharmaceutical supplier to Russia, stepping in to fill the gap created by the withdrawal of Western companies from the market due to geopolitical tensions. According to RBK’s report citing data from RNC Pharma, Indian manufacturers increased their exports by 3% last year, delivering nearly 294 million packages of medicines to Russia. This shift in dominance displaced Germany, which had been India’s top supplier in 2021 and 2022.

The withdrawal of Western pharmaceutical companies from Russia, prompted by the conflict in Ukraine, has led to a significant reduction in their supplies to the country. Germany, for instance, slashed its exports to Russia by almost 20% last year, down to 238.7 million packages. Major international players such as Eli Lilly, Bayer, Pfizer, MSD, and Novartis have also suspended new clinical trials in Russia, further opening up opportunities for Indian pharma companies.

In contrast, Indian pharmaceutical firms are seizing the opportunity to expand their presence in the Russian market. RBK’s article highlights that Indian companies are not only increasing exports but also exploring joint production ventures in Russia. The Indian pharmaceutical industry, ranked as the world’s third largest by volume according to the Indian government, has earned the moniker of “the world’s pharmacy.”

Data from 2023 indicates substantial growth in Indian pharmaceutical exports to Russia. For example, Mumbai-based Oxford Laboratories saw a remarkable 67% increase in its supplies to Russia, totaling 4.8 million packages. Ipca Laboratories, another major player specializing in generics, witnessed a 58% surge in exports, reaching 13.7 million packages last year.

The geopolitical situation, characterized by Western restrictions, has inadvertently catalyzed bilateral cooperation between Russia and India in various sectors beyond pharmaceuticals. Experts note that this shift has prompted both countries to explore new avenues of collaboration, including pharmaceuticals, chemical, and food industries, as well as oil extraction and diamond processing.

Besides India, other countries also maintained or increased their pharmaceutical exports to Russia last year. France saw a 7.6% rise, with exports totaling 149.4 million packages. Hungary and Israel also experienced double-digit increases, with 11.6% and 11% growth respectively. Hungary delivered 112.5 million packages, while Israel’s exports reached 149.8 million packages, according to RNC Pharma.

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