India has immense potential to take on global pharmaceutical markets, a joint report by KPMG and industry body CII said.

Primary problems faced by the Indian pharma sector today are issues of “intangibles” — namely, lack of skilled manpower, lack of consistency and quality, lack of clarity on IPR and patenting, regulatory failures and a highly fragmented sector — the report said.

Addressing these issues comprehensively will help the sector leapfrog into the global pharmaceutical market and overtake China, its closest competitor, CII Pharma Summit’s Chairman and Hikal Ltds Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Jai Hiremath, said at the CII-organised Seventh International Pharmaceutical Conference here.

“The challenges are little hurdles, no doubt. But largely, they are a demonstration of the Indian pharma sector’s potential and a reflection of its success. Over the next ten years or so, we should work closely on addressing these issues, increasing R&D spends and patent filings and work towards consolidating the industry,” CII Western Region Chairman and Forbes Marshalls Director, Naushad Forbes, said.

This will help Indian firms leverage their strengths in the global market, he said.

India is ranked as the world’s fourth largest pharmaceutical market in terms of volume and the 13th largest in terms of value. But despite its success, the Indian pharma industry accounts only for 3 per cent of the Contract Research and Manufacturing Services (CRAMS) market, the report said.

This indicates that the country has great potential to become a global market leader. However, it also signals certain issues and roadblocks which Indian companies are facing that deter them from gaining significant market share and realising their true potential, the report said.

Calling on the regulatory authorities and the Government to exercise effectiveness, Mr. Hiremath said “over the years, India has emerged as the hub for Contract Research and Manufacturing Services. There has also been substantial improvement in technology and R&D spends.”

“However, the sector now needs to collectively address pressing issues in order to maintain momentum. The Government needs to ensure adequate clarity on IPR and data protection and issues such as ever-greening which are frivolous should not be encouraged by regulatory authorities,” he said.

Participating in a CEO roundtable, industry leaders called for collective efforts from the sector to overcome present challenges and truly realise the industry’s potential in the global scenario.

There was a need to create a conducive ecosystem and address burning concerns such as the need for incremental and breakthrough innovation, need for skilled manpower and change in mindsets.

They identified branded generics as a potential area for the Indian pharma sector to focus on and said that cost-effectiveness and trained manpower were the inherent strengths of the sector.

They also asked the industry to cultivate innovative mindsets and increase people productivity.

Keywords: PharmaceuticalsIndiaCIIKPMG