Being the hub of generics, Indian pharma industry is a one of the huge markets of the world. It accounts for 3% of the global pharma sector, with 40% exports going to the US and some to UK and other countries. The generic market is expected to grow from $250 billion to $450 billion and the patents that are going to expire in the next four to five years are now going to be available to the Indian industry. Indian pharma industry has progressed from traditional pharma reps to the data driven medicine sector today. The changes in the industry were slow and predictable. But COVID-19 changed Indian Pharma industry and is still remodeling which was long due. 

Cutting the dependency for drugs

One of the most prominent changes brought by the pandemic was the boost to domestic manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). This was done by  key starting materials (KSMs) that can enhance backward integration over the next few years and reduce the chance of supply-chain disruption for Indian drug manufacturers. step. Under the capex assistance program , the government has also allocated 0.4 billion dollars (approximately 3,000 crore) to fund up to 90% of the investment needed to construct common infrastructure facilities in three bulk drug parks. This was a huge move taken by the government since India ‘s reliance on imports of pharmaceutical ingredients especially from China has risen over the past few decades due to the higher costs of domestic production. For certain life-saving medicines, including penicillin and ciprofloxacin, import dependency is more than 90 per cent.

Global Strategy

Twenty-five firms contribute 85 percent to the overall production of the sector and there is a long tail and a substantial disproportion. In India, there are about 3,000 pharmaceutical companies that range from Rs 10 crore to Rs 100 crore and are of different sizes. A two-pronged approach to have an effect on overall growth would therefore be introduced. One is how we enable medium-sized and large Indian pharmaceutical companies to accelerate growth and meet the demand that will come in the next four to five years. And the second part is how to draw the top 20 global businesses to India in order to build operations here. There’s great focus here. The size of the market is $1.3 trillion, and 20 global businesses contribute approximately $650 billion, but India ‘s presence is very small.

COVID-19 market

COVID-19 changed Indian pharma market and brought into existence a new sect in the pharma industry – the COVID-19 market. This market is worth Rs. 2700 crores in India. These include medications such as azithromycin, paracetamol, methylprednisolone, hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and favipiravir. This is also when more Indian businesses are dipping their toes into new antidotes to COVID. Some have found a sweat spot for items that are in higher demand today, in categories such as immunity boosters. The acute therapy segment-medicines for cold, cough, anti-infectives or antibiotics and related medicines that make up almost 50 percent of the total Indian pharmaceutical market sales, received a big hit and saw a sharp decline in growth. This sharp drop was due to new prescriptions in this segment as most individuals working from home have shown in recent months trying to stay safe, tending to e e e In addition, there is a drop in the use of anti-infectives in regular and elective surgical procedures, both of which have taken a backseat during the pandemic.

The value of research

It seems like governments around the world have at least accepted the importance of science. One explanation, many claim, is that the focus of the narrative has changed from price reductions to the affordability and study of medications. The outcomes of this will take time to demonstrate and as much depends on how the state wishes to walk-the-talk in its support for new drug production and how the interests of innovators on their patents are upheld, while at the same time innovators discourage the ever-greening of patents.

A lot of global companies are now looking at India for licensing and drugs, setting up operations. Here policies bought by the government, changes made in the overall functioning of the pharma sector by small and large companies altogether is going to make India one of the top pharmaceutical markets of the world. One of the big enablers of this is going to be the R&D capability. This is where we have to invest more time on R&D and regulatory agencies issue approvals for various related biologic for the treatment of multiple diseases every year. If we have to achieve real potential and become a global leader, we need to implement enabling policies in India to accelerate R&D for the Indian and global businesses we are looking at. In India, there is a talent pool available and the current infrastructure would be helpful.