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India Is Home To Largest 'Diabetes' Drugs Market Worldwide

Diabetes has been termed the 'Mother of all Diseases' and sadly despite of tremendous research by the medical industry, a permanent solution for it is yet to be found

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The Diabetes drug market is soon estimated to reach $55.3 billion by 2017 with foreign drum makers eyeing at India's growing diabetic population. Time to take a deep look at why drug companies are betting big on 'pharmerging' countries?

PM Modi showed a lot of concern on the eve of International Yoga Day and urged yoga teachers to focus on reducing the number of diabetic patients in the India. It is time to contemplate his insistence over the issue and analyze the questions India is facing at the moment.

With the world's largest population of diabetics, India is set to see the launch of a range of novel diabetes treatments from foreign drug makers such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Merck.

Diabetes has been termed the 'Mother of all Diseases' and sadly despite of tremendous research by the medical industry, a permanent solution for it is yet to be found. Even the best medicines can only control diabetes for the time being while the dosage keeps increasing as time progresses.

However, it is said the yoga can help maintaining almost all of the bodily functions at the optimum level and diabetes can be controlled by it as well. Many postures and breathing exercises in yoga have known to be inducing the pancreas to produce enough insulin and regulate the blood sugar.

But drug companies have been pitching innovative delivery systems, convenience and touch technology, to expand their consumer base in large markets like India. Multinational pharmaceuticals are planning to capture a market of 32 million to 57.2 million people by 2025. Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Eli Lilly, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Sanofi all wish to have a chunk of the Rs1,200-crore diabetes treatment market which is growing at around 20-22 per cent a year, especially with various forms of insulin accounting for the largest chunk of Rs 310 crore.

Leading brands in diabetes drugs such like Pfizer's is launching 'Exubera', an insulin inhaler, can be inhaled like an antiasthma spray. Likewise Merck has come up with 'Januvia', a pill that needs only one dosage daily. It simultaneously increases human body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Some other innovations in the field are also worth mentioning here such as Eli Lilly's 'Byetta', a product developed to control diabetes and weight loss.

Many pharmaceuticals have understood the fact that without expanding horizons in India, their growth can be stagnant or incomplete. At least three pharma majors have applied for patents to sell in India, post the launch of GlaxoSmithKline's blockbuster diabetes drug 'Avandia' in 2005 when the total Indian diabetes market was valued at $15 billion.

It is not surprising, to say that developing countries like China, Brazil and India serve as a huge attraction to pharmaceuticals when they are close to spending nearly half of their respective growth in medicines/drugs. Nevertheless, these pharmerging nations' reliance on lower-cost generics is still a tricky opportunity to play. The demand for drugs in 'pharmerging' markets will expand at a compound annual growth rate of as much as 11 per cent and account for nearly 50 per cent of absolute growth in drugs spending in 2018, much more than European and Japanese markets.

As countries like India, China, Russia and Brazil gain economic clout is the incidence of diabetes is seeing a surge. Rising levels of sedentary lifestyle and obesity and heart disease are becoming more common, in the elite and middle-class. Rising disposable incomes also mean patients in these countries have the required cash to spend on medicines.

India is facing desperate times and needs to fight back Diabetes with natural things like Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Yoga. Even Baba Ramadev reportedly announced that would support the R&D in Ayurveda with an investment of almost Rs 10,000 crore, as part of his business plans.

Hopefully, our ancient study of medicine can help us combat Diabetes and defeat it like Polio. Or else India will have to face the frightening truth that India would become completely dependent on foreign drug makers in the near future.