Generic Drugs: Rising Opportunity for Indian Pharmaceutical Players

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India is en route to becoming a powerful and dynamic nation. Numerous initiatives undertaken by both the private and public sectors have been launched to revolutionize the way the nation operates. Prominent examples include the smart cities initiative, introduction of high speed trains, and the extensive efforts by the current Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, to strengthen foreign relations through multiple foreign visits. India has already made its mark across the globe.

 

Over the past decade, India has also established itself as a valuable player in the global generic drugs industry. Indian pharmaceutical stalwarts, such as Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s Labs, Cipla and many others, are already well positioned in this lucrative global market.

 

Recently, a number of US based pharmaceutical players have taken to unnecessarily increase the price of their products that are close to patent expiry. This practice has been condemned by the entire nation, including the government and insurance companies that share medication costs with patients in the US. The US spends close to 17% of its GDP on healthcare, which is far more than its defense budget. According to certain sources, India is currently the second largest exporter of drugs and medical products to the US, responsible for approximately 13% of pharmaceutical products imported by the country. Additionally, the two countries have agreed to collaborate on various therapeutic areas, including mental health, traditional medicines and a few others.

 

The recent price hike of Daraprim®, a drug used to treat the parasitic disease toxoplasmosis, greatly disrupted the healthcare sector in the US. The developer, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of the drug from USD 13.50 to USD 750. This led US medical authorities to allow companies to outsource the production of the same drug to Indian companies. In addition, medical officials have also confirmed that a New Delhi based manufacturer has also been contracted to supply an “off patent” cancer drug to the US.

 

Cycloserine, a drug used to treat tuberculosis, was recently acquired by Rodelis Therapeutics. Post the acquisition, Rodelis raised the price of the drug from USD 500 to USD 10,800, for a mere 30 capsules.  Although, Rodelis later agreed to return rights to the drug to its original developer, which is a non-profit organization affiliated to Purdue University. The foundation also increased the price of the drug to USD 1,050 for 30 capsules. In contrast, the same product is being marketed in other regions for a meagre price of USD 20 for 100 capsules.

 

The above mentioned atrocities being propagated to cater to the selfish needs of big pharma players have presented significant opportunities to contract service providers in India. India has a competitive edge in the pharmaceutical manufacturing market world owing to its talented human resource pool and low labor costs. The generic drugs market may well be a stepping stone for this developing nation to make it as a major global stakeholder in the pharmaceutical industry in the foreseen future.