Global pharma looks to India: Prospects for growth

The huge potential of the Indian pharmaceuticals market is impossible for foreign companies to ignore, given that it will be one of the top 10 sales markets by 2020. India’s population is growing rapidly, as is its economy – creating a large middle-class able to afford western medicines. India’s epidemiological profile is also changing and the population is ageing, so demand is likely to increase for drugs for cardio-vascular problems, disorders of the central nervous system and other chronic diseases such as diabetes which is increasing at an alarming rate. The total market is expected to rise to a value of approximately US$50 billion by 2020.

Our report highlights that India now has a growing and increasingly sophisticated pharmaceutical industry of its own. It is likely to become a competitor of global pharma in some key areas, and a potential partner in others. India has considerable contract manufacturing expertise; Indian companies are among the world leaders in the production of generics and vaccines - now producing more than 20% of the world’s generics. Around $70 billion worth of drugs are expected to go off patent in the US over the next three years, and PwC thinks that India is capable of manufacturing a substantial share of the product to support the resulting generics opportunities. Although urbanisation continues, around 70% of India’s population still resides in rural areas. We note that this untapped potential is now the next volume driver for the industry, but foreign companies looking to access rural markets face many hurdles.

PwC notes a number of methods for foreign companies to explore opportunities in India:
  • Outsourcing. Recently there has been a move from outsourcing lower value and manufacturing activities to more research-based capabilities.
  • Licensing is being used to establish a common platform in order to gain rapid in-market acceptance and create a complete therapy range.
  • Franchising. US-based Medicine Shoppe International, for instance, has entered the market as Medicine Shoppe India and plans to expand to 1,000 stores by the end of 2010.
  • Joint ventures with domestic partners bring local expertise and a local network and require government approval. Pharmaceuticals are deemed a high priority area so approvals can be quick.
  • Some multinational companies such as Pfizer and Novartis are taking advantage of the potential in India through partially or wholly owned subsidiaries.
As with any kind of new market opportunity there are additional factors to consider:
  • Infrastructure challenges.
  • Tax benefits and upcoming changes to the tax code
  • Counterfeiting

 
 
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