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Pharma, healthcare grew this year on M&A booster dose

business Updated: Dec 18, 2010 12:17 IST

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Looking healthier on booster dose of global alliances, the Indian pharma and healthcare sectors repeatedly hit headlines this year on account of M&As, but inbound buyouts by MNCs raised concerns over availability of low cost drugs.

Be it Sun Pharma's victory in acquiring Israel's Taro after a long drawn battle, or Piramal's selling off its domestic formulations business to Abbott, or Biocon's marketing deal with Pfizer, Indian drug makers sought strength from global play.

In the healthcare arena, too, not to be dis-heartened by the step down in the battle for Parkway, Fortis bought Hong Kong's Quality Healthcare Asia to expand beyond borders.

These may well be steps towards the bigger role Indian pharma and healthcare seek globally in the coming years, but there were concerns as well on Indian pharma's selling off to MNCs with deep pockets and strong network of R&D.

Worried over big Indian pharma firms getting acquired by MNCs, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) came up with a discussion paper suggesting restrictions on foreign direct investment in the sector.

Besides, worried over the impact of Indian firms' acquisition on the availability of low-cost medicines, the government has decided to examine the possibility of "Compulsory Licensing" under which a third party -- other than the patent holder -- is allowed to produce and market a patented product or process.

Besides, in a bid to boost local innovation, the government came up with plans to set up a Rs 2,000 crore venture capital fund to promote drug discovery and strengthen infrastructure in the pharma sector.

That apart, Indian firms' skirmishes with authorities in European Union and in other parts of the world over seizure of their export consignments remained strong irritants through the year. Finally, this week, the issue has been resolved with the EU.

The two sectors continued to grow strongly and are set to touch the USD 280 billion mark by 2020, said FICCI Director Bishakha Bhattacharya.

Mckinsey and Co, on the other hand, predicted that growing at compounded annual growth rate of nearly 14% in the next few years, the Indian pharmaceutical market is expected to touch USD 40 billion by 2015.

The domestic market, which is growing at about 14%, will be USD 20-24 billion in 2015. Exports and contract manufacturing business, which are growing at 10% per annum, will contribute to achieve the predicted growth.

Currently, the total industry size is about USD 20 billion, with exports accounting for about USD 9 billion.