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Pharma market in India set to reach $54bn by 2020

Exports and generics lead growth but challenges remain in country’s healthcare system

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The pharmaceutical market in India is expected to grow by almost $40bn during the next eight years to reach a value of $54bn by 2020, according to a new report.

During this time it will see compound annual growth of 15.4 per cent, driven primarily by a growing export sector that made $8.8bn in 2010 and accounted for 40 per cent of India's pharma industry turnover, say GlobalData.

Also expected to perform strongly during the current decade is the generic drug sector, which accounts for about 95 per cent of pharma revenue in India.

Growth in generics will be led by India's high population of 1.21bn people and an increase in the number of big selling drugs going off patent during the next few years.

The generic drug industry is one that is also dominated by domestic companies, with Indian firms such as Dr Reddy's, Ranbaxy and Cipla making up 80 per cent of the sector's revenues.

The report comes at a crucial time for the pharma industry in India as this week sees the commencement of final arguments in Novartis' legal case against the country's patent office following its decision to not grant a patent for the Swiss firm's cancer drug Glivec.

The patent office had determined the drug was an updated version of product previously granted a patent in 1993, rather than a new medicine outright, leading Novartis to launch a legal battle to amend section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Law that restricts the use of multiple patents for one drug.

It's a case that has been criticised by such groups as Medecins Sans Frontieres who fear it could impact the availability of cheaper generic versions of life-saving medicines, and depending on the final verdict, could have a significant impact on the Indian pharmaceutical industry.

GlobalData's report highlighted several other challenges for India's healthcare landscape, including an infrastructure that is unprepared to meet growing demand, with a lack of qualified staff and hospital beds.

Health coverage is also low across the country, with 80 per cent of the population not covered by any form of insurance in 2010, and most people forced to pay for care at the point of need.

• Find out more about India's healthcare system in our Country Report: India.

21st August 2012

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