What does Indian pharma’s journey to $130 billion mean for the industry?

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What does Indian pharma’s journey to $130 billion mean for the industry?
Employees wear protective suits and mask working inside a laboratory at Emcure pharmaceuticals ltd. The pharma sector has rewarded investors with nearly 70 per cent returns in the last financial year, during which period almost all stocks in the sector posted double-digit growth.Courtesy: ANI

Pharma sector rewards investors with nearly 70 per cent returns in the last financial year amid pandemic pressure.

With the medical and pharmaceutical sector recording a galloping growth as well as a sizzling performance at the stock markets during the pandemic, it’s hardly a wonder that the industry is set to cross the $100-billion benchmark soon this decade.

The pharma sector has rewarded investors with nearly 70 per cent returns in the last financial year, during which period almost all stocks in the sector posted double-digit growth with Torrent Pharmaceuticals (92 percent), Divis Labs (80 percent) and Dr Reddy's Laboratories (45 percent) leading the pack.

It’s the latter that has pegged the sector to be ripe for unprecedented growth. According to K Satish Reddy, Chairman of Dr Reddy's Laboratories, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is expected to grow almost by three times to about $130 billion by 2030.

Pharmacy shop workers wear full protective gear suits to serve customers during the nationwide lockdown. The pharmaceutical sector is expected to grow almost by three times in the coming decade, reaching almost $120 billion to $130 billion by 2030.
Pharmacy shop workers wear full protective gear suits to serve customers during the nationwide lockdown. The pharmaceutical sector is expected to grow almost by three times in the coming decade, reaching almost $120 billion to $130 billion by 2030.Courtesy: ANI

Balance between exports and domestic sales

“If you see, currently it's (pharmaceutical industry) about $42 billion, half between the domestic sales, half between the exports. We expect that it will grow almost by three times in the coming decade, reaching almost $120 billion to $130 billion by 2030. Truly, we believe that we are poised for a tremendous growth in the coming decade," he said.

Reddy, also chairman of Board of Governors of NIPER- Hyderabad, was virtually addressing the 9th Convocation of the institute. The government's encouragement ('Atmanirbhar Bharat' policy), a lot of reforms in the policy to incentivise the industry and thrust being given to innovation, among others, augur well for the industry, he said.

Indeed, the pandemic has brought into light the need for healthcare reforms to promote access to affordable facilities with no bar of socio-economic or geographical limitations – especially in nations like India. This is an opportunity which the Indian pharma industry must utilize to the fullest, undertaking fundamental reforms to get on the track of innovation-based industrial growth.

People thronging a garments market during the pandemic and flouting social distancing rules. The second pandemic wave forced the pharma industry to ensure the availability of life saving medicines by boosting production.
People thronging a garments market during the pandemic and flouting social distancing rules. The second pandemic wave forced the pharma industry to ensure the availability of life saving medicines by boosting production.Courtesy: ANI

Covid a litmus test for Indian pharma

As Reddy noted, the Indian pharmaceutical industry worked continuously during the testing times of COVID-19 pandemic second wave to ensure the availability of life saving medicines. During the period, the companies involved in making critical COVID-19 medicines responded very quickly ramping up production, he added.

The pandemic has brought into light the need for healthcare reforms to promote access to affordable facilities with no bar of socio-economic or geographical limitations – especially in nations like India. This is an opportunity which the Indian pharma industry must utilize to the fullest.

Reddy also lauded the efforts of Indian Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and his ministry for providing several valuable interventions over the course of the pandemic which immensely helped the industry ramp up capacities.

Noting that the future of the Indian pharmaceutical industry is dependent on its ability to develop stronger capabilities in innovation and R&D, Reddy said such capabilities which already exist, need to be strengthened further.

Getting global attention

The Indian pharmaceutical sector can contribute to the country through the development of drugs for India-specific ailments which, he said, do not get the global attention they deserve.

Reddy said digital technologies were heralding a big change in the whole spectrum of healthcare – the way patients are treated, the way medicines are supplied to patients and automation in manufacturing.A whole host of opportunities got accelerated during the pandemic, he added.

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