India—A Force to be Reckoned with in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

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Indian manufacturers are moving towards high-value, low-volume work, with complex chemistry and intellectual property challenges.

We all know India for its ability to produce affordable medicines. But India has come a long way over the past decade. While its contribution to the generic drug market remains significant, Indian pharmaceutical companies are now extending their offerings beyond API manufacturing to include finished formulations and advanced drug-delivery technologies. Interest in biosimilar drug development is also increasing and the big players have started investing in processes and technologies to develop and produce these complex molecules. No doubt, the pharmaceutical industry in India is experiencing a shift towards high-value, low-volume work, with complex chemistry and intellectual property (IP) challenges as noted in a CPhI Pharma Insights report, published in partnership with market research specialist, Global Business Reports (GBR).

The same report highlighted that the Indian pharmaceutical market recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21% in the past 10 years. In 2013–2014, pharmaceutical exports from India reached $15 billion. The United States, which is the largest pharmaceutical market globally, is said to source more than 40% of its medicines from India. And 85% of drugs supplied to Africa by non-governmental organizations originate from India.

With exports and outsourcing increasing at remarkable rates, Indian players are feeling confident about the growth potential in the near and medium term. Most companies have reported double-digit growth. An interesting trend worth pointing out is that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have traditionally relied on the domestic market are now rapidly expanding and emerging as multinational corporations  (MNCs) based on exports-led growth strategies, according to the CPhI report. The big players in India have consolidated an exports market presence and a second wave is expected to follow with more Indian firms striving to increase international exports and grow beyond the $100 million mark.


India is becoming a force to be reckon with as it continues to play its part in enabling developing economies to access life-saving medicines. It has attracted Western MNCs looking to invest for the future. Examples can seen with Abbott’s purchase of Piramal’s domestic branded generics business and GSK increasing its ownership in the Indian division to 75%. It is expected that India will become one of the world’s top producers of drugs in terms of value and volume as it progressively evolves into a global center of pharmaceutical manufacturing.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at