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US pharma standards body wants to grow India unit as Asia hub

United-States-Pharmacopeial-Convention

United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), a scientific non-profit organisation that sets standards for medicines and food products manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide, is planning expansion of its India operation.United-States-Pharmacopeial-Convention

Ronald Piervincenzi, chief executive at USP, told Business Standard during his recent visit that while the Indian unit of the organisation has the second largest laboratory after America, it may soon be the hub for entire Asia.

Set up 10 years ago, the Hyderabad facility now has 150 employees, and it is looking to grow 40 to 50 per cent next year in terms of staff strength as the pharma sector is diversifying into dietary supplements and specialised food now. The number has grown from just 15 four years ago. Globally, USP has around 1000 employees with 600 in the US. Other operations of USP are in China, Brazil, Ghana and Ethiopia.

USP, whose drug standards are enforceable in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used in more than 140 countries, has collaborations with scientists, practitioners, and regulators of many nations, including India, to develop standards for better public health.

USP is planning to ramp up its operations across the globe by investing $200 million in the next five years towards reviving 4000 drug testing monographs with the latest technology, according to Piervincenzi.

“While it has spent $20 million during the past four years for improving its infrastructure and capacities, the $200 million would be used to revive at least half of our monographs of drug testing procedures with latest technologies.”

A part of this investment will also be spent in India, the company said. There are various activities that USP is looking at increasing in India, including work on medical monograph modernisation, increasing resources and manpower building, expansion of activities and technology.

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