Additional InformationTHE PHARMACEUTICAL MARKET: INDIA - REVIEW
The Indian pharmaceutical market is highly competitive and remains dominated by low-priced, domestically-produced generics. Despite having the second largest population in the world and a growing middle class with high healthcare expectations, India accounts for less than 2% of the world pharmaceutical market in value terms. In one of the world's better performing economies, spending on pharmaceuticals accounts for less than 1% of GDP and average per capita spending remains one of the lowest levels in the region.
India’s biopharmaceutical sector is currently experiencing double digit growth and this is expected to continue, driven by the vaccines market. Growth drivers include education and increased awareness of disease prevention, increases in disposable income and government participation in immunisation programmes. Continued growth is also expected in the diagnostic and therapeutic segments, including cancer and diabetes. India is already known as the diabetes capital of the world and the number of diabetes patients in India is expected to grow to 70 million by 2025. Cancer therapies are also lucrative for many Indian companies due to high unmet need, increased awareness and the comparative affordability of domestically produced drugs.
The Indian pharmaceutical industry is responsible for around 10% of world pharmaceutical production. Over the last few years, a number of Indian pharmaceutical companies have been targeted for foreign acquisition. Concerns have been raised that this trend could adversely affect generic drug prices in India. The Ministry of Health wants safeguards built into the Foreign Direct Investment process amid fears that continued foreign acquisitions will adversely affect the domestic industry and push prices up, thereby potentially undermining the government’s efforts to make generic drugs affordable. This could lead to essential medicines becoming more expensive and adversely affecting public health programmes.
The need to maintain low prices for essential medicines has been addressed in the government’s draft National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy (NPPP), released in 2011. The proposed NPPP focuses on the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), which is periodically revised. The headline major change is a move from the principle of cost-based pricing to a market-based pricing model. The Department of Pharmaceuticals argues that market-based pricing would result in more transparent and fair pricing, as well as increasing competition in the marketplace. Price regulation will encompass all drugs listed in the NLEM, as well as formulations containing combinations of drugs listed in the NLEM; this will include combinations comprising listed drugs and unlisted drugs. If the NPPP is implemented, around 60% of the drugs currently available in India will come under price control.
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