The Indian pharma industry has played a crucial role in supporting the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic by supplying essential drugs and vaccines. The country’s pharma export figures at US$24.44 billion in FY21 are a testimony to the industry’s contribution in serving patient needs across the globe. India currently stands third in pharmaceutical production by volume and 14th by value, ably supported by lesser production costs, abundant skilled workforce and robust R&D infrastructure. India supplies over 40 per cent of generics to the biggest pharma market, the US, 25 per cent of prescription drugs to the UK, and catering to over 60 per cent of the global vaccine demand.
It is no surprise that the pandemic has pushed several industries toward innovation and more for the life sciences industry, which is the epicentre of improving and saving lives. At the Global Innovation Summit 2021 for Pharma, held in November 2021, leaders unanimously indicated that the Indian pharma industry is headed to be a global leader propelled by innovation, partnerships, and improving regulatory support. Moving beyond generic drugs to build successful innovative products is driving investment growth and prioritisation.
As we have witnessed in the last couple of years, COVID-19 created unprecedented challenges. The global life sciences and healthcare industry rose to the occasion to develop vaccines and drugs in a very short span. Building a culture of innovation primarily depends on strengthening collaboration between industry and academia, creating world-class facilities for researchers and scientists to come up with future-focused drug development.
Backed by a strong formulation development capability and its strong presence in the leading markets such as North America and Europe, India has clocked US$41 billion in revenue for the year 2021. Experts believe this figure is expected to touch US$130 billion by 2030. This depends on how well the industry builds on its R&D capabilities and the implementation of digital technologies that heralded a change in the healthcare continuum.
The industry is focused on creating an innovation ecosystem with government support to develop innovation hubs, simplifying regulatory and compliance procedures, providing essential funding and driving initiatives that incentivise innovation. Companies will be looking to embrace digital technologies at scale transforming their businesses, driving efficiencies, improving agility to support the global healthcare needs.
From depending on imports in the past to becoming a leading exporter, it has been a long journey the journey for Indian pharma on the global roadmap. The future of Indian pharma depends on the industry’s ability to accelerate innovation, focus on smart manufacturing leveraging the technology advancements and forging ahead to be the global life sciences hub.
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