Sector Highlights: Pharmaceuticals

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Discover India's pharmaceutical prowess! Explore its global role as the 'Pharmacy of the World', dominating medicine exports to over 200 countries

The Pharmaceutical industry in India is significantly contributing to healthcare globally. The Department of Pharmaceuticals has estimated the current size of the industry is about USD 41 Bn including drugs and medical devices. The exports stood at around USD 19.13 Bn in FY 2018-19 recording a growth of 10.72% over the previous fiscal.

India continues to play a substantial role in manufacturing various important, high‐quality and cost-efficient medicines for Indian and global markets. The Pharmaceutical industry in India has unique characteristics with the domination of branded generics, local brands and low-price levels with intense competition.


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Known as the “Pharmacy of the World”, India plays a major role in the manufacturing and supplying of medicines globally. The pharma exports from India reach more than 200 countries in the world. Indian medicines are preferred around the world because of their high quality and low price. India is among the top 10 formulation exporting countries in the world, 4th largest by volume and 10th largest by value.

The annual turnover of industry in India was estimated at around USD 36.93 Bn during the year 2018-19. The share of exports which includes Bulk Drugs, Drug Formulations, Drug Intermediates and Biologicals was around USD 18.29 Bn during the year 2018-19.

India is also the largest “generic only” exporter in the world, accounting for 20% of the global exports in generics.


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At the global level, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is the 3rd largest by volume and 14th largest by value. India contributes 3.5% of the total drugs and medicines exported globally. According to the Department of Pharmaceuticals, the current size of the industry is around USD 43 Bn and it is growing at a rate of 7-8% in the drug sector and 15- 16% in the medical devices sector. Currently, the industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about 1.72%.

India has consistently maintained a trade surplus since the year 2010-11. The annual trade surplus for the year 2018-19 was about USD 13.10 Bn.

The Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Industry in India has received a cumulative FDI of about USD 16.5 Bn during the period April 2000 - March 2020.


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Manufacturers’ strengths in Organic Chemical Synthesis and Process Engineering: The Pharmaceuticals industry has shown tremendous progress in terms of infrastructure development, technology base and a wide range of products. The industry has developed GMP Certified (Good Manufacturing Practices) facilities to produce different dosage forms.

Low cost and large-scale manufacturing capability in India: India has the second-highest number of United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved facilities and labour costs in India are lower than other manufacturing hubs by up to 40%.

Stable growth in domestic market consumption: Despite recent headwinds, the Pharmaceutical industry in India has grown rapidly. India is likely to become one of the top 3 Pharmaceutical industries by 2030.1 

Increasing demand in global markets: Generic penetration in high-value healthcare markets (e.g., US) is growing significantly, with India supplying over 20% of the demand in major geographies.2


Source 1, 2


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