Envisaging ‘five emerging key strategic changes’ in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry

In India, the domestic pharmaceutical market has clocked a CAGR of around 13% to 14% since the last five years. Currently, the market is dominated by the drugs for mass ailments. However, such trend has already started showing a shift towards ailments related to the life-style of patients. This emerging trend is expected to fast accelerate in future.All such factors put together, driven by the following key drivers for growth backed by strong logistics support and hopefully improving healthcare delivery system are expected to contribute significantly towards faster growth of the Indian pharmaceutical industry, as we move on.Key growth drivers:

The growth drivers may primarily be divided into two categories:

- Local and
- Global


• Rapidly growing more prosperous middle class population of the country.

• High quality, cost effective, domestic generic drug manufacturers who will have increasing penetration in both local and emerging markets.

• Rising per capita income of the population and in-efficiency of the public healthcare system will encourage private healthcare systems of various types and scales to flourish.

• Expected emergence of a robust healthcare financing/insurance model for all strata of society.

• Fast growth in Medical Tourism.

• Evolving combo-business model of global pharmaceutical companies with both patented and generic drugs boosting local outsourcing opportunities.


Global pharmaceutical industry is going through a rapid process of transformation. Cost containment pressures due to various factors are further accelerating this process. Some of the critical effects of this transformation process like Contract Research and Manufacturing Services (CRAMS) will drive growth of many Indian domestic pharmaceutical players.

Expecting the need for ‘New Strategic Changes’ of radically different in nature:

The impact of many of these evolutionary changes is being felt in India already. However, some more radically different types of changes, which the industry has not experienced, as yet, are expected to be felt as the country moves on to satisfy the desired healthcare needs of its population while fully encashing the future growth opportunities of the Indian pharmaceutical industry.

Five ‘New Strategic Changes’ envisaged:

Five new key strategic changes, in my view, will be as follows:

1. As the country will move towards an integrated and robust healthcare financing system:

• Doctors will no longer remain the sole decision makers for the drugs that they will prescribe to the patients and the way they will treat the common diseases. Healthcare providers/ medical insurance companies will start playing a key role in these areas by providing to the doctors well thought out treatment guidelines.

• For a significant proportion of the products that the pharmaceutical companies will sell, tough price negotiation with the healthcare providers/ medical insurance companies will be inevitable.

• Health Technology Assessment (HTA) or outcome based pricing will play an important role in pricing a healthcare product.

2. An integrated approach towards disease prevention will emerge as equally important as treatment of diseases.

3. A shift from just product marketing to marketing of a bundle of value added comprehensive disease management processes along with the product, will be the order of the day

4. Patents will be granted on truly innovative medicines and incremental innovation to be protected within the patent life of the original product only or separately for a much lesser period.

5. Over the counter medicines, especially originated from natural products for common and less serious illness, will curve out a larger share as the appropriate regulations will be put in place.


With the above changes in the ball game of the Indian pharmaceutical industry, it may not be easy for the local players to adapt to such changes sooner and compete with the global players on equal footing. Those Indian Pharmaceutical companies who are already global players on their own rights, will be well versed with the nuances of this new game, within the country. These domestic companies, in my view, will offer a tough competition to the global players, especially, in the generic space.

However, so far as other domestic players are concerned, the new environment could prove to be a real tough time for them, further accelerating the process of consolidation within the Indian pharmaceutical industry. So the ‘writing on the wall’ appears to be ‘prepare now’ or ‘perish’.

By Tapan Ray

Disclaimer: The views/opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own, written in my individual and personal capacity. I do not represent any other person or organization for this opinion.

Leave a Reply