This morning, The Financial Express is running a front page story entitled ‘Generics Gateway ,’ by BV Mahalakshmi and Sudhir Chowdhary. While it is primarily interested in pumping up India’s emerging role in helping global pharmaceutical companies source new products, exploit new generics opportunities and secure lower-cost operations all in India, there is a much bigger story to be found in this four-page account. In short, you can’t read this cover story and not see all the trends coming together for the making of tremendous change ahead. The writers don’t use the term ‘perfect storm,’ but I do. What are these signs?
Developed markets for global pharmaceutical companies are adrift; the new product pipeline among the research driven big pharmaceutical companies has become very lean; billions of patented brand name drugs will be going off-patent this year and next… in fact, without let up to 2016, according to this story. The ‘perfect storm’ on one hand is a set of big pharma forces seeking more products, quick generic plays, access to emerging market economies, and partners in places where the cost of doing business is less. On the other hand, it is a set of forces in developing nations, like India and others, that have established drug manufacturers, product pipelines, low-cost operations, and experience in tapping emerging markets.
Here are just two supporting quotes from The Financial Express story:
“All research-driven global pharmaceutical companies are finding their growth rates stagnant in the developed markets and hence are keen to invest in India and spur their growth. We can expect some big-ticket deals in the next couple of months,” says Sujay Shetty, associate director, pharmaceuticals life sciences practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Over $47 billion worth of drugs are expected to go off-patent by 2011 representing a rich pipeline for the generic manufacturers,” says Hitesh Gajaria, executive-director, KPMG India. To make matters worse, it is estimated that around $140 billion of annual turnover from blockbuster drugs will get almost shaved off due to patent expiry by the year 2016. IMS Health reports that by the end of 2010, sales revenue of more than $30 billion will be adversely impacted due to patent expiry.
Of course, at the same time, global changes are also well underway to bring standardized medical product and device identification solutions to the table, most notably in the form of GS1. India is no exception. Here’s the GS1 India website. Everything seems to be emerging at once: new markets, new alliances, new products, new locations, new strategies, and not least of all, new ways for all products to be marked for international consistency, safety, and supply chain efficiency.