North Indian pharma holds high M&A potential

Ravi ShetThursday, November 24, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian pharmaceuticals industry has transformed itself into a prominent spot in the global pharmaceuticals industry and statistics speaks for itself. It ranks third worldwide for production by volume, the largest provider of generic medicines globally, occupying almost 20 per cent share in global supply by volume, and is the leading vaccine manufacturer globally.

The Indian pharmaceuticals industry is expected to reach $65 billion by 2024 and to $120 billion by 2030. Indian pharma exports witnessed a growth of 103 per cent since 2013-14, from Rs.90,415 crores in 2013-14 to Rs.1,83,422 crores in 2021-22.

India is among the top 20 global medical devices markets in the world. To add on strong network of manufacturing facilities which are compliant with respect to various regulatory bodies globally as well as availability of highly skilled resource. This industry forms a major factor of the country’s foreign trade, with attractive avenues and opportunities for investors.

India supplies affordable and low-cost generic drugs to millions of people across the globe and operates a significant number of United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and WHO Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) compliant plants. India has occupied a premier position among pharmaceutical manufacturing countries of the world.

The pharmaceuticals industry in the northern part of India has good prospects along with high merger and acquisition potential. Of the northern states, Himachal Pradesh contains almost one-fourth of contract pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. Baddi, an industrial town in Himachal Pradesh, accounts for approximately 40 per cent of India’s domestic pharmaceutical output.

A new Rs. 1200 crore bulk drug pharma park for Himachal Pradesh has been approved which is among the three such parks coming up in the country to reduce dependence on pharmaceutical imports from China. This investment is expected to be a game-changer for the economy of the hill state. Availability of water and power at lowest tariffs and presence of an industrial gas pipeline makes Himachal Pradesh the most suitable place for investment in the pharmaceuticals sector.

Haryana government is focusing on boosting small, micro and medium scale industries and is steadily working towards developing the state into a hub of pharmaceutical industry. Medicine shortage has been one of the key issues, hence government is taking a more active role in stock management and supply.

A central warehouse in Gurugram and additional regional warehouses have been set up. Each store is connected with real-time tracking software system to ensure availability of supplies, with the goal of holding six months’ worth of stock for fast-moving drugs, four months for average-moving drugs, and two months for slow-moving drugs. Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing (SAP) based end-to-end supply chain management system has also been implemented. While these new improvements are encouraging, a lot more needs to be done considering the magnitude of current challenges.

Punjab has strong presence of active pharmaceutical ingredients and formulations units with exports of pharmaceutical products worth $121 million. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh has approximately 30 per cent of manufacturing and exports of pharmaceuticals in the country. Ease of business coupled with incentives and subsidies will definitely propel the prospects of pharmaceuticals industry in this region.

The path ahead
The Indian market is impossible to ignore, given its economic projections. Foreign companies view India as a potential major contributor of future sales and are scaling up their investments in the country accordingly. India’s domestic market looks promising for global pharmaceutical companies looking to launch new products.

During the initial phase of Covid-19, when almost all parts of the globe had undergone lockdown, it was an uphill task to procure key active pharmaceutical ingredients for the production of medicines. It resulted in lot of missed shipments and shortages.

The key thought process is to aid India pharmaceutical companies cut costs and become more competitive on price by providing them with land where environmental clearances are sorted, waste disposal facilities are already built and other world class infrastructure is ready.

To achieve India’s ambitious target of increasing the market size by 2030, there needs to be a push from all stakeholders. However, it is equally important to change the perception of India in the minds of the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been continuously promoting our country as pharmacy of the world. With all the proper incentives, innovative thought process and skilled pool of resources we can achieve great milestones in pharmaceutical industry.

Interactions between Government and industry players have to increase and they need to be taken into confidence by Government while creating key policy decisions or guidelines. The economy of strategic scale is momentous and we need to speak, make and act expeditiously.

To add, the available infrastructure coupled with incentives and pool of resources present in Northern states of India will definitely prosper in a good way to boost our economy as well as become more Atmanirbhar for the pharmaceutical sector.

It has all the ingredients to be the next bright spot in the global economy as well as position themselves into leading position and excel in terms of delivering quality and innovative products to the country and globally.

(The author is clinical data management professional)