Editorial Team

Over the last 2 decades, the Indian pharmaceutical industry has witnessed 10 times growth owing to its strength in the global generics market. The domestic pharmaceutical market turnover in the country reached INR 1.4 lakh crores in 2019, up from INR 1.29 lakh crores in 2018, as per government data. It is the largest provider of generic medicines around the world, occupying a 20 per cent share in global supply by volume, and also supplies 62 per cent of global demand for vaccines.

While the COVID-19 pandemic handicapped economies and industries worldwide, the pharmaceutical industry in India witnessed an upsurge. The pharmaceutical industry also faced some setbacks as the manufacturing, supply chain, and import of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) were affected, but the sector handled the challenges well and rebounded again with help from favourable policies from the government.

“The pandemic has pushed up sales of medicines and resulted in exponential growth for the pharmaceutical sector. The Indian pharma market (IPM) grew 6.1% during November led by continued traction in the chronic segment. The acute segment also grew on a low base of last year. COVID therapy drugs that contributed to the pharma market growth during the first half of the year continued to add to the rise. Non-COVID drugs sales grew 6.7% year-on-year during November, surpassing the 6.3% sales growth of COVID drugs. Also, all major therapies posted high double-digit growth in April 21. Within Chronic therapies, Cardiac therapy grew 22 per cent. Similarly Anti-diabetic therapy grew 10 per cent. VMS (vitamins, minerals and supplements) posted record growth of 80 per cent in April 21 vs 27 per cent in March 21. In the acute therapies, gastro, respiratory and pain & analgesics grew 13.1% YoY, 16.3% YoY and 17.3% YoY, respectively. Growth in volume terms, however, remained flat year-on-year during November. It was the 5.4% rise in prices and new product launches, driven by acute therapy products, that helped the IPM grow in the month.” said Mr. Nikkhil K Masurkar, Executive Director of ENTOD Pharmaceuticals.

Indian pharmaceutical exports reached US$20.7 billion in FY207 with year-on-year growth of 8.4%. It has grown at a CAGR of 6.2% between 2015 and 2020. This was largely driven by exports of generic drugs to more than 200 countries (including both developed and developing markets). India is the source of 60,000 generic brands across 60 therapeutic categories. The country accounts for 40% of the generics demand in the US and ~25% of all medicines in the UK. India also fulfils about 80% of global demand for antiretroviral drugs for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), significantly contributing towards increasing accessibility of AIDS treatments. That said, due to its position as the global supplier of innovative medicines, it becomes imperative for India’s pharmaceutical industry to explore new possibilities to consolidate and strengthen its positioning and expand in the post-pandemic world.

“Most Indian pharma companies reported resilient operating performance in FY21, benefitting from diversification and sales of pandemic-related drugs. Indian pharmaceutical companies’ sales will grow robustly in the financial year ending March 2022 (FY22) as sales normalise in categories affected by the pandemic in the previous year. Sales of drugs used to treat acute medical conditions and elective procedures will continue to recover in FY22. While the risk of further waves of infection remains significant but healthcare systems are better prepared after the second wave, which should limit the impact. Revenue in key markets, including the US and Europe, will also benefit from a healthy pipeline of generic drugs and further progress in launches of specialty drugs by larger companies. This should help to offset the effects of continued price erosion. Costs are expected to rise to normal levels in FY22 as companies step up marketing and R&D activities. However, higher sales will cushion the impact on margins” said Ms. Anjula Masurkar, Clinical Director, Entod Pharmaceuticals.

“To reach that target from the current $42 billion, the Indian pharmaceutical industry will require to double the last decade’s growth rate of 6% to 12%. In order to sustain and build on the good work India has done in the past, the Indian pharmaceutical industry needs to focus on emerging growth areas to move up the value chain. To move up the value chain, India has opportunities in complex generics, speciality pharma, biosimilars and novel biological drugs, vaccines and preventives, and other areas of unmet needs. There is also huge potential to establish the country as the global innovation hub of the future. To achieve future potential, India needs to establish an entire ecosystem of innovation that brings together the academia/research institutions, big pharmaceutical companies and startups/entrepreneurs, medical institutions/hospitals” added Mr. Masurkar.

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