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Indian pharma-biotech cos gear up to capitalise on current US affordable drug pricing norms

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, May 12, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The US government’s endeavour to reduce cost of drug and the new American Health Care Acts are viewed by Indian pharma-biotech companies and healthcare providers as promising growth prospects.

According to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon, recent developments in the US have brightened the prospects for greater biosimilars penetration given the focus of US President Trump’s agenda to cut healthcare spends through better pricing models. Indian biosimilar players find themselves in a sweet spot given their focus of bringing high-quality yet affordable biopharmaceuticals to the US.
 
Kaushik Desai, secretary, Indian Pharmaceutical Association and pharma consultant, pointed out that India has been regarded as priority sector by US for meeting drug supplies from India. There are 546 US FDA approved plants which is far by the highest number units outside the US. There have been few incidences of quality issues but overall the relations are quite cordial and both countries need to co-exist for smooth supply of quality medicines. However, India needs to keep a watch on new rules which may impact pharma exports from India and take positive and proactive steps to mitigate the risks if any.

“Some of the new policies of President Trump’s administration like the preferential treatment for Americans in employment, one-time high tax on investments outside the US and the American Health Care Act which replaces Obamacare will now lead Indian pharma to devise strategies for mergers and acquisitions which are important options that need to be evaluated,” said Desai.

For companies like Glenmark, Sun Pharma, Lupin, Aurobindo, Dr. Reddy’s, Zydus, Strides Shasun, Hetero Drugs, Torrent, Alkem and Emcure to name a few consider US as a big market opportunity.
 
“Indian pharma has served as the ‘pharmacy to the world’ by providing high quality generic drugs for decades. It played a critical role in lowering healthcare spends of governments in developed and emerging markets thus enabling greater access for patients. In fact, ‘one in every five generic drugs’ consumed in the US are from India,” said the Biocon chief.

“For Indian pharma, US is still the largest export market. Our industry is also reported to have the second highest of Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs) with a leadership status in Drug Master Files (DMFs) applications in the US. Therefore, for Indian pharma, US is a huge market opportunity which cannot be ignored,” said Desai.
 
“Globally, biologics emerged as a class of highly effective transformational life-saving drugs to treat oncology, autoimmune and diabetes. Ten of the top 15 global pharma products in 2016 were biologics: insulins and monoclonal antibodies. Biosimilars with similar levels of quality, safety and efficacy, can provide an affordable alternative therapy for both patients and governments globally. Worldwide biosimilars market is expected to reach US$ 25-35 billion by 2020. Indian biopharma companies are gearing up to tap the biosimilars opportunity in the US,”  Biocon chief said.

 

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