Indian pharma players need to explore new regions for exports

  • 19-Feb-2019
  • Indian pharma players need to explore new regions for exports

Indian pharma industry, worth $34 billion in 2018, has exhibited huge potential and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent. During the deliberations at the ongoing India Pharma 2019, an international conference on the pharmaceutical industry in Bengaluru, many representatives of the pharma majors opined that Indian pharma players should look at different geographies for exports. It was discussed that they should not solely concentrate on the developed markets such as the US and Europe. Out of the total pharma exports, around 55 per cent of exports are to the developed and regulated markets.

“Global exports by pharma companies in India have increased, and besides the US and Europe, which have seen reduction in drug prices, there are markets such as Africa, Indonesia and China that can be tapped by the pharma companies. Japan, though is a highly rewarding market, is also a high risk market. Around 20 per cent of global market for formulations are met by Indian players. However, Indian pharma players should insist on highest quality of products,” remarked Dr Sanjit Singh Lamba, managing director, Eisai Pharmaceuticals India Limited.

Other experts also observed that there was huge export opportunities to countries such as China and Latin America. While China had big market potential and was highly policy driven, each and every Latin American market was different from each other. “In China, it takes time to build trust and what succeeds in China doesn't succeed in India and the one that succeeds in India doesn't succeed in China. What the government in China decides the companies execute. Right now there have been policy changes to curb corruption in China in the pharma sector especially, with a two invoice system that completely eliminates the role of a middle-man in drug purchase and distribution,” explained Chetan Bangera, regional head Latin America for Cipla.

Experts such as Gautam Swaroop, VP and Head—Geographies, EM, Portfolio and S&M at DRL Laboratories pointed out that the Latin American pharma market presented a huge opportunity for Indian companies as it is a $80 billion market. “Off late, the region has witnessed a surge of diseases that require long term treatment with drugs. There is increasing cases of high blood pressure among Latin Americans, increased alcohol usage leading to diseases etc. Many Indian players have done well in the region but a company cannot have a uniform strategy for the Latin American region as each market is different and each company will need to devise a different strategy for the same. The board of a company should keep a 5-6 years of horizon for each market as it takes time to crack in each individual market. Once a company cracks the market then it is worth the bet,” observed Swaroop.

Manoj Kamra, vice president corporate affairs, Zydus Cadila Healthcare also observed that there was immense potential to increase the exports by Indian pharma companies. He said that pharma exports from India had touched around $17.27 billion a 2.9 per cent Y-o-Y growth and 3.68 per cent CAGR for a period from 2013-14 to 2017-18. “It is very important for pharma players to think of emerging markets as currently, 35 per cent of exports are to the developed US market alone. We need to look strongly towards other emerging markets such as Africa,” said Kamra.

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