Drug Patents Worth $60bn to Expire in 4 Years
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11, March 2010
By T K Rohit
Nearly $60 billion worth of patents for drugs is set to expire in the next four years across the world and Indian pharmaceutical companies are now in a position to take a major share of this pie, industry members said.
Already, India is the No. 1 exporter of generic drugs in the world with exports to the tune of $8 billion in 2008–09. “The Indian pharma industry is the third largest in the world with strength in the value chain and constitutes 40% of the world’s exports of bulk drugs,” said S V Veerramani, vice–president, Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association. Veerramani said the Indian pharma industry was expected to reach $30 billion by 2020.
“Out of every fifth generic drug produced in the world, three are from Indian companies. While we are not too much into new drug inventions, we are quite strong in manufacturing formulations and bulk drugs. When the $60 billion worth of patents expire in the next three to four years, Indian companies will be able to capture a major chunk of the market with our strength in generic drug manufacturing,” said J Jayaseelan, honarary secretary, Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA). The IPA is organising a three–day convention in Chennai between March 12 and 14 that will discuss India’s ‘surge forward as the global pharma destination’.
“Many Indian companies are concentrating on manufacturing generic drugs. The US, Europe and Japan continue to be lucrative markets as they are the largest spenders in healthcare. Any company with good integration, can surely move up the chain,” Raghavendra Rao, chairman and managing director, Orchid Chemicals, told TOI.
There are over 9,000 formulations companies in India in the small, medium and large sectors, and they export to over 200 countries. “Companies like Pfizer, AstraZeneca have set up operations in India as the cost is low. New drug development is also happening along with a growing focus on R & D,” Jayaseelan said.