Compared with its drugmakers and API producers, India's pharmaceutical machinery makers are relatively small, but are emerging
as a group to be reckoned with. From serving local customers with machines copied through reverse engineering, to locally
producing equipment for global clients, the learning curve has been steep. Today, Indian pharmaceutical machinery makers are
positioning themselves for even faster growth ahead.
Considering the favorable investment environment in India's pharma sector, thanks to manufacturing free zones, general modernization,
the current good manufactring practice trend, and the growing demand for global outsourcing, the future is bright at home
for Indian industrialists.
Abroad, cost constraints on generics producers and originators, as well as geographical redistribution of manufacturing locations,
offer plenty of opportunities to the Indian machine makers to score foreign sales. Designs, services, and efficiency have
improved, rendering machines made in India serious competition for those made in Europe or the US. This opens up opportunities
for cross-border partnerships, despite a few shortcomings. For example, some Indian technology is a bit outdated (e.g., radio-frequency
identification hasn't made it through to Indian labelmakers or labeling machine producers); Indian producers lack the marketing
networks necessary to establish a long-term overseas presence; and access to capital is tight. Market leaders are turning
over less than $50 million, and despite great potential for spectacular development in the years ahead, are relatively small
compared with their western competitors.
All together, these groups do not represent each and every player in the Indian pharmaceutical sector, but they do allow a
better understanding of the strategies and actors at work. The industry's dynamism is a striking reality, as exemplified by
the number of ANDAs filed by local manufacturers, the highest in the world after the US. Local actors are well aware of their
strengths and of the challenges ahead, and have taken to the global stage just as global actors are taking notice. A few high-profile
acquisitions such as that of Matrix Laboratories Limited (Secunderabad) by US generic company Mylan Laboratories Inc. (Canonsburg,
PA) demonstrate that India is on the minds of the global industry's decision-makers. At a time of risk and opportunity, fast-growing
pharmaceutical countries such as India cannot be ignored.