INDIA is fast emerging as the pharmacy to the world, with domestic and international drug producers investing huge sums in setting up manufacturing units, research and development laboratories and other related facilities.
The international pharmaceuticals industry is undergoing dramatic changes, with governments - both in the developed and developing world - focussing on slashing their ballooning healthcare budgets. With a growing number of popular drugs going off-patent over the coming years, many countries would be opting for generic products that would be available at far lower prices, to save on costs. IMS Health, the US-based global healthcare information and consulting firm, estimates that during the next five years, products that currently generate an unprecedented $US137 billion in sales are expected to face generic competition.
These products include blockbuster drugs each with annual sales of more than $US1 billion such as Lipitor (manufactured by Pfizer, one of the largest pharma companies in the world), Plavix (Bristol Meyer Squibb, Sanofi - Aventis) and Seretide/Advair (GlaxoSmithKline - GSK).
Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering drug, fetched US$ 12 billion in sales for Pfi zer last year, but faces generic competition from 2011. Plavix, an anti-clotting drug - which earned Bristol Meyer Squibb more than $US6.1 billion in sales in 2009 - will lose patent protection in 2012.
The drug is being comarketed by Sanofi -Aventis. GSK, which earns $US4 billion from its asthma treatment drug, Seretide/Advair, will see its patent expire in 2010.
But non-branded (or generic) drugs are expected to continue going strong over the coming years. According to IMS data, global prescription sales growth of generic drugs was up by IMS Health expects the global pharmaceuticals market to grow by four to six per cent in 2010, exceeding total sales of $US825 billion.
Last year, global generic products accounted for sales of less than $US85 billion.
The US consulting firm predicts global pharma market sales to grow at a four to seven per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2013, with the value of the global pharmaceuticals market expected to expand to nearly $US 1 trillion in three years.
India features among the seven 'pharmerging' markets - along with the other BRIC nations 7.7 per cent for the 12-months ending September 2009, as against 3.6 per cent in 2008.