India’s pharmaceutical industry grows 24% annually and is projected to reach $85 billion by 2020. A third of the world’s medicines are exported from India, and the country is the number one supplier of generic medicines. The four main products in this industry are branded medicines, branded generic medicines, unbranded generic medicines, and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

India’s pharmaceutical sector is characterized by high formulation development capability and low costs for production and research. The country’s large diverse population makes it a prime location for clinical trials. Increasing urbanization, consumer spending, and purchase of healthcare insurance contribute to the growth of this sector.

India has over 20,000 pharmaceutical manufacturing units including 8,000 small-scale units and 250 large-scale units. The sector is concentrated in the eastern city Kolkata, western cities Pune and Mumbai, and southern city Bangalore. There are a total of 3,500 state-registered companies, and half of these are merchant exporter companies. Merchant exporters do not have their own manufacturing units. Instead, they receive international orders, acquire necessary materials from other groups, and export the product under their company’s name. Firms specializing in pharmaceutical formulations, bulk drugs, and drug intermediates are also prominent.

Comprising 70% of the industry, the largest Indian pharmaceutical firms and their main products are:

  • Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. – generic drugs
  • Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. – respiratory and cardiovascular medicines
  • Cipla Ltd. – formulations and veterinary services
  • Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. – antibiotics
  • Cadila Healthcare – dosage formulations
  • Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. – cardiovascular and central nervous system medicines
  • Sun Pharmaceuticical Industries Ltd. – neurological, cardiological, and nephrological medicines
  • Glenmark Pharmaceuticals – dermatological and gynecological medicines
  • Divis Laboratories Ltd. – APIs for generic drugs

The Indian government’s pharmaceutical policy allows up to 100% foreign direct investments for medical device production. Indian company Strides Arcolab partnered with California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. to manufacture and distribute HIV treatments in developing countries such as India, Egypt, and Indonesia. India-based Piramal Enterprises acquired Kentucky-based Coldstream Laboratories for $30 million. Piramal Enterprises specializes in health and personal care products with brands such as Jungle Magic, Caladryl, Complete, and Saridon.

The largest foreign pharmaceutical companies in India and their main products are:

  • Abbott India Ltd. – antacid tablets (Digene, Digecaine) thyroxin tablets (Thyronorm), progestogens (Duphaston), and neurological products (Vertin and Zolfresh)
  • Teva Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredients India Ltd. – APIs and advanced intermediates
  • Nipro India Corporation Pvt. Ptd. – medical healthcare products
  • Otsuka Chemical India Pvt. Ltd. – intermediate drugs
  • Pfizer India – prescription medicines and consumer health products
  • Johnson & Johnson India – baby, health, and skin care products
  • GlaxoSmithKline India – prescription drugs and vaccines
  • AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd. – respiratory, cancer, and autoimmune disease medicines

According to the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India report, 25% of India’s exports are sent to the U.S. Russia, the U.K., Germany, and South Africa are also top destinations. 58% of exports are generic drugs, 40% are APIs, and 2% are traditional medicines.

The future is bright for India’s pharmaceutical industry as it continues to grow. As a result, the Indian population experiences positive health trends as expensive medicines become more affordable.





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