for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry
The Indian pharma market
The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third largest in terms of volume and thirteenth largest in terms of value, as per a report by Equity Master. Branded generics dominate the pharmaceuticals market, constituting nearly 70 to 80 per cent of the market. India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally with the Indian generics accounting for 20 per cent of global exports in terms of volume.
Of late, consolidation has become an important characteristic of the Indian pharmaceutical market as the industry is highly fragmented. India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector. The country also has a large pool of scientists and engineers who have the potential to steer the industry ahead to an even higher level. See BBC documentary here.
Pharma Vision 2020
The Government of India unveiled 'Pharma Vision 2020' aimed at making India a global leader in end-to-end drug manufacture. Approval time for new facilities has been reduced to boost investments. Further, the government introduced mechanisms such as the Drug Price Control Order and the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority to deal with the issue of affordability and availability of medicines.
the Indian government has taken many steps to reduce costs and bring down healthcare expenses. Speedy introduction of generic drugs into the market has remained in focus and is expected to benefit the Indian pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the thrust on rural health programs, lifesaving drugs, and preventive vaccines also augurs well for the pharmaceutical companies.
Generic drugs form the largest segment on the Indian pharmaceuticals market
• With 70 % of market share (revenues), generic drugs form the largest segment of the Indian pharmaceutical sector
• India supplies 20 % of global generic medicines market exports in terms of volume, making the country the largest provider of generic medicines globally and expected to expand even further
• Over the Counter (OTC) medicines and patented drugs constitute 21 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, of total market revenues of US$ 20 billion
A bright future for Indian pharma
The Indian pharmaceutical market size is expected to grow to US$ 100 billion by 2025, driven by increasing consumer spending, rapid urbanization, and raising healthcare insurance among others. Going forward, better growth in domestic sales would also depend on the ability of companies to align their product portfolio towards chronic therapies for diseases such as cardiovascular, anti-diabetes, anti-depressants, and anti-cancers that are on the rise. The Indian government has taken many steps to reduce costs and bring down healthcare expenses. Speedy introduction of generic drugs into the market has remained in focus and is expected to benefit the Indian pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the thrust on rural health programs, lifesaving drugs, and preventive vaccines also augurs well for the pharmaceutical companies.
Generic versus branded name in India
From a public health perspective, it is desirable for drugs to be marketed by their generic names. However, drugs are generally marketed by their brand names though there is a legal requirement to mention generic names in the labels.
The Indian pharmaceutical industry is generally of the view that the practice of deriving brand names from parts of generic names is common throughout the world. The practice of using parts of INN stems is not specifically prohibited under Indian law; moreover, this does not cause confusion since the Indian regulations require the generic name to be shown more prominently than the brand name.
Further, the use of stems in the brand name may help in easy identification of the brand with the generic substance. It may also be cost-effective for small companies to use a brand name that contains a part of an INN without having to invest substantially on developing unique brand names.
Large companies want to have unique brand names identifying the name with the company, since they want to build the loyalty of the customer to the company and all its brands. Small companies, with a smaller range of products, need to develop loyalty to particular brands. It is easier to create names using parts of generic names, as they are easy to recall and identify.
Some stakeholders also hold the view that while it may be ideal to have generic names for drug promotion, it may not be a practical policy in India where most drugs are marketed by the private sector.
However, the practice of using INN stems in brand names may lead to confusion due to the availability of drugs that sound alike and look alike.