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BW Businessworld

An Agenda For The Next 30 Years

Industry has to also focus on innovation, development excellence and cost control, along with the highest quality standards to remain competitive and play an important role in the global markets that it can

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Today, India is called as the 'pharmacy of the world', which has been the result of a long and arduous journey. In 1947, India's pharmaceutical market was dominated by multinational corporations (MNCs) that accounted for almost 90 per cent, and most products were imported. Almost all the patents were held by MNCs, and domestic prices of medicines were among the highest in the world.
 
In the 1960s, the market was still import-dependent though the government initiated policies that emphasized self-reliance. Then 8 out of the top 10 pharma companies were subsidiaries of MNCs. Fast forward to today, and the change in the environment has been phenomenal. Globally, India is the 3rd largest manufacturer of medicines by volume and 13th largest by value. We export 53 per cent of our production; our exports to the US - the world's largest market for medicines - grew from less than half a billion dollars to nearly $6 billion in 2015.
 
Our industry has also moved up the value chain. About 15 per cent of the roughly 1.3 lakh patents filed in India from 2013 to 2015 were by pharmaceutical companies, according to a report by Clarivate Analytics. This demonstrates that the number of patents being filed is rising, and Wockhardt has been one of the top filers of patents.

But we cannot rest on the laurels of the past. We need to move up the value chain and invest in research and meet several unmet medical needs. It's good that lots of Indian companies have gone global: to the US, to the EU, Japan and even Latin America.

From our perspective, the future of the pharmaceutical industry will be a combination of differentiated products, research, genetics, immunotherapy and pharma tech. However, in order to sustain the robust growth rate and to service their evolving customers better, companies will have to adopt new business models.
 
Keeping in mind the rise in chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancers and cardiovascular ailments, the growth of the sector will also depend on the ability of companies to align their product portfolio with these. The patent cliff and the pressure to control healthcare costs will provide opportunities for Indian generic companies to innovate and increase their share in a market.
 
Moving forward, India can play a significant role globally for meeting the current and future unmet medical needs and create a healthier world. Industry and the government should therefore come together and align on a common vision of "Expanding India's global leadership and relevance, while driving domestic access for quality medicines at affordable prices". The industry can focus on three goals to realise this vision.
 
Firstly, becoming the world's largest and most reliable drug supplier through leadership in cost, quality and development excellence. Secondly, by providing access to affordable and quality drugs. Thirdly, by establishing globally recognised presence for the Indian industry in pharma innovation. Industry should develop the requisite skills in important areas like quality, manufacturing, research, sales and marketing to contribute towards the long-term vision.
 
Industry has to also focus on innovation, development excellence and cost control, along with the highest quality standards to remain competitive and play an important role in the global markets that it can.  
 
Government should develop a vision for next 8-10 years, for playing a leadership role worldwide. Currently the Indian pharma industry stands at 35 Billion USD (both India market and exports from India), and we should set the vision to go to 150 Billion USD in 8 years, which means a CAGR of 18%. Government should create an environment of investment and development, whereby the industry is enabled through various progressive policies; and towards this, Government should play the role of facilitating the growth of industry, with a liberal mind-set.
 
Grants for research, clinical development, industry friendly patent policies and developing innovation infrastructure are the important pillars for this long-term vision. Government should also strengthen the access of basic healthcare hygiene for the weaker sections of society and ensure access to the medicines at affordable prices for poor people.

The author was also a speaker at the BW Businessworld Life Sciences Forum Powered By Yes Bank

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Murtaza Khorakiwala

The author is Managing Director, Wockhardt

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